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January 2019

[op-ed snap] Basic income works and works well


Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics aspects of Basic income.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues and challenges in the implementation of Basic income policy, in a brief manner.


  • In 2010-2013, three basic income pilots in West Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, in which over 6,000 men, women and children were provided with modest basic incomes, paid in cash, monthly, without conditions.
  • Although the money was not much, but it was paid individually, with men and women receiving equal amounts and with children receiving half as much, paid to the mother or surrogate mother.
  • The pilots involved the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and financial assistance from UNICEF and the UNDP.


Basic income: A ripe idea

  • The international debate on basic income has advanced considerably in the past five years. Experiments have been launched in countries of different levels of per capita income, which include Canada, Finland, Kenya, Namibia, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S., with plans being drawn up in England, Scotland, South Korea and elsewhere.
  • India could take the lead since it has the technological capacity, the financial resources and, above all, the need for a simple, transparent scheme to liberate the energies of the masses now mired in economic insecurity, deprivation and degradation.
  • In the 2017 Economic Report tabled by the government there is a chapter on how a basic income could be rolled out across India, and is affordable.
  • Its main author, former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, and others such as Professor Pranab Bardhan have proposed ways of paying for it — primarily by rolling back existing wasteful, distortionary, and mostly regressive subsidies.
  • This should not be an issue to divide the left and right in politics, and it would be wonderful if the main political parties and personalities could come together on it.


Learnings and outcomes from the pilots


  • The outcomes exceeded expectations, because everybody in the community, and not just select people, received their own individual transfer.


  • Nutrition improved, sanitation, health and health care improved, school attendance and performance improved.
  • Further, women’s status and well-being improved, the position of the disabled and vulnerable groups improved by more than others.
  • Also the amount and quality of work improved.
  • For critics it would be a waste of money, but they were proved wrong.
  • Above all, the basic incomes improved the community spirit and were emancipatory. Those who do not trust people wish to retain paternalistic policies despite decades of evidence that they are woefully inefficient, ineffective, inequitable and open to ridiculously extensive corruption. The tendency of elites to want to have common people grateful to their discretionary benevolence has blocked sensible economic reform.


  • Planning the phased implementation of basic income will be a serious but manageable challenge. It will require goodwill, integrity, knowledge and humility about what will be inevitable mistakes.
  • If properly planned, it is possible to introduce a comprehensive scheme even in rural or urban low-income communities, without too much cost.
  • But it is essential to obtain local cooperation and awareness at the outset, and the backing of key local institutions.


  • It is strongly recommended that if the government is to go ahead, it should phase in the scheme gradually, rolling it out from low-income to higher-income communities, after local officials have been trained and prepared.
  • It is also recommended that the authorities should not select particular types of individuals and give it only to them.
  • It is tempting to say it should go only to women, low-income farmers, or vulnerable social groups. That would be wrong. It would involve expensive and corruptible procedures, and risk evoking resentment in those arbitrarily excluded, who would probably be equally in need, perhaps more so.
  • What administrators often do not appreciate enough is that money is fungible. If money is given only to women, men will demand a share; some women will give in, some will resist; it will be divisive.
  • In the pilots it was found that if men and women all have an equal individual amount, it promotes better and more equal gender relations. Moreover, giving to all in the community fosters solidarity within households and the wider community, apart from enabling multiplier effects in the local economy.

The contrast: Farm loan waivers

  • No doubt farm loan waivers policy would lessen the burden on a hard-pressed social group, and lessen rural poverty, but it is a populist measure.
  • It will be popular, but will not alter structures and is bad economics.
  • Suppose the principle were generalised. If one type of loan could be declared non-repayable, why not others? Unless one can show that a debt is odious or illegal per se, it would be a dangerous precedent to declare that one type of debt and not others need not be repaid.

Way Forward

  • In the long term, financial institutions would be less likely to extend loans to small-scale farmers. That is not the aim.
  • If the loans were made on fair rules, it would be better to enable the debtors to pay them back less onerously. That is why a basic income would be a more equitable and economically rational way of addressing what is undoubtedly an unfolding rural tragedy.
  • The beauty of moving towards a modest basic income would be that all groups would gain.
  • That would not preclude special additional support for those with special needs, nor be any threat to a progressive welfare state in the long term.
  • It would merely be an anchor of a 21st century income distribution system. The politicians must show the will to implement it.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

[op-ed snap] A way out of the morass on the US’ plan to pull out of Afghanistan


Mains Paper 3: International relations| India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics of India-Afghanistan relations, Afghanistan politics.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues and challenges in Afghanistan after the US pull out, in a brief manner.


  • In an article published in The Hindu in Dec, 2003 it was suggested that the only way out of the morass in Afghanistan would be to re-place Afghanistan in its traditional mode of neutrality.
  • For that, two things were essential. The Afghans themselves must declare unequivocally that they would follow strict neutrality in their relations with external powers, and the outside powers must commit themselves to respect Afghanistan’s neutrality.
  • In other words, external powers must subscribe to a multilateral declaration not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan together with an obligation on Afghanistan not to seek outside intervention in its internal situation.


  • The agreement on the Neutrality of Laos, concluded in 1962, could provide a model for the neutralisation of Afghanistan. The present might be an appropriate time to revisit that proposal.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his decision to reduce American troop strength in Afghanistan, 14,000 at present, by half. Though Mr. Trump has not laid down a deadline for this reduction, it is assumed that he will make this happen well in time before the next U.S. presidential election in 2020.
  • This development has energised the principal stakeholders in Afghanistan to make calculated efforts to place themselves in as favourable a position as possible in an Afghanistan post-American withdrawal.
  • India should also be thinking of what steps it should take to protect its interests in that situation.


Engaging in dialogue with the Taliban

  • The Taliban will be a major player in the politics of Afghanistan in the coming months and years. They already control more than 50% of the country and are getting stronger and bolder by the day.
  • They are also engaged in direct talks with China, Russia, the Central Asian states and others. The Americans, represented by former diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, have begun sustained dialogue with the Taliban.
  • The Taliban have refused to talk to the Kabul government so far, but as and when the Americans pull out, as they are justified in doing for reasons of their own national interest, they might agree to engage with the Ashraf Ghani government.
  • In any future scenario, the Taliban are guaranteed to play an important, perhaps even a decisive role in the governing structures of the country.

India’s engagement with Taliban

  • New Delhi has so far refrained from establishing formal contacts with the Taliban out of sensitivity for the Kabul government not wanting to talk directly to the Taliban as long as the Taliban refuse to acknowledge its legitimacy.
  • However, India must look after its own interests. Will a Taliban-dominated government in Kabul necessarily pose a serious security threat to us? While we are in no position to prevent such an eventuality, we would have alienated the Taliban by refusing to talk to them during the present phase.
  • Even Iran, a Shia regime, has established official dialogue with the Taliban, a staunchly Sunni movement. It would not be difficult for our agencies to establish contacts that would facilitate initiating an official dialogue with Taliban; if needed, Iran could help in this even if it might displease the Americans.
  • After all, the Americans have not always been sensitive to India’s concerns, in Afghanistan or elsewhere and Mr. Trump has publicly shown unawareness of India’s substantial development assistance to it.

A regional compact

  • At the same time, the international community ought to think of how to establish a mechanism which might offer a reasonable opportunity to the Afghan people to live in peace, free from external interference.
  • And perhaps the only way in which this could be done is to promote a regional compact among all the neighbouring countries as well as relevant external powers, and with the endorsement of the UN Security Council, to commit themselves not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
  • The most important country in this regard is Pakistan. Pakistan is highly suspicious, perhaps without any basis, of India’s role in Afghanistan. A multilateral pact, with India subscribing to it, ought to allay, to some extent at least, Pakistan’s apprehensions.
  • India will need to talk to China about cooperating in Afghanistan; Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi already agreed in Wuhan, in April 2018, on working on joint projects there.
  • Pakistan should have no objection to formally agreeing to Afghanistan’s neutrality.

Bilateral Agreement on the Principles of Mutual Relations

  • There is the most relevant precedent of the Bilateral Agreement on the Principles of Mutual Relations, in particular on Non-interference and Non-intervention, signed in Geneva in 1988 between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • In that agreement, the parties undertook, inter alia, to respect the right of the other side to determine its political, social and culture system without interference in any form; to refrain from over throwing or changing the political system of the other side; to ensure that its territory was not used to violate the sovereignty, etc of the other side, to prevent within its territory the training, etc of mercenaries from whatever origin for the purpose of hostile activities against the other side.
  • As a document on non-interference, it could hardly be improved upon. Pakistan probably would agree to a document with Afghanistan in whose governance its protégé, the Taliban, will play an important role, which would broadly be similar to the one it had concluded with an Afghan regime which it did not approve of.
  • The Bonn Agreement of 2001, which made Hamid Karzai the interim chief of Afghan government, contains a request to the United Nations and the international community to ‘guarantee’ non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, a request not acted upon so far.


  • A regional pact on non-interference and non-intervention ought to be welcomed by all the regional states.
  • Russia has reason to worry about a lack of stability in Afghanistan because of its concerns regarding a spread of radicalism as well as the drug menace.
  • China has even stronger concerns, given the situation in its western-most region.
  • The U.S. might have apprehensions about China entrenching itself in strategically important Afghanistan, but there is little it can do about it; a regional agreement on non-interference might give the U.S. at least some comfort.


  • It is early days to conclude whether the situation in Afghanistan has entered its end game.
  • In any case, it would be prudent to assume that the U.S. will definitely leave Afghanistan in the next two years, likely to be followed by other western countries.
  • No other country will offer to put boots on the ground, nor should they; certainly not India. The only alternative is to think of some arrangement along the lines this article have suggested.

Rural Distress, Farmer Suicides, Drought Measures

[OP-ED SNAP] A quota for farmers


Mains Paper 3: Social Justice| Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics aspects of reservation, Indra Sawhney case .

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues affecting the agrarian community wrt to 10 per cent reservation entitled to EWS category, in a brief manner.



  • The last few years have seen the so-called dominant farming communities — especially the Jats, Marathas, Patidars and Kapus — mount violent agitations demanding quotas in government jobs and higher educational institutions, whether under the OBC (Other Backward Class) or any specially created category.
  • In all these instances, the standard government response was that it want to grant them reservations, but doing it entails breaching the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Indra Sawhney judgment.
  • Further, including them within the 27 per cent OBC quota isn’t practical, since that would be at the expense of the communities already in the list.

Things have changed with EWS quota

However, this feeble narrative has undergone a sudden transformation now, with the Narendra Modi government introducing and passing in Parliament a Constitution amendment bill that creates a new economically weaker sections of citizens (EWS) category entitled to 10 per cent reservation, over and above the 15 per cent for Scheduled Castes, 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes and 27 per cent for OBC.

Agrarian community, the sufferers

  • In today’s setting, where the centre of power has shifted inexorably from “Bharat” to “India”, the Jat or Maratha farmer’s son/daughter stands no chance against the urban Brahmin or Bania’s children, even of relatively poor/lower middle class background.
  • Living in big towns and cities brings certain advantages — better schooling, exposure to English and knowledge of the outside world — that those primarily brought up on farms and village communities cannot derive.
  • Rural people in India suffer from an overall social disadvantage vis-à-vis those residing in cities. This holds true even more in a globalised milieu, where agriculture isn’t as paying and nor is land the source of power it once was.
  • According to the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, 76.86 per cent of Maratha families are engaged in agriculture for their livelihoods, with hardly 7.5 per cent of the community — which has a roughly 30 per cent share of the state’s population — possessing undergraduate or technical/professional qualifications.
  • The quota agitations by the dominant agrarian communities have not really been as much for public sector jobs, as for admission to government educational institutions.

Challenges in EWS quota

  • In all probability, the 10 per cent EWS quota will be overwhelmingly cornered by urban upper castes.
  • The government’s reported proposal to set the “creamy layer” for reservation eligibility at below five acres of land ownership for farming families — as against a Rs 8 lakh yearly income cut-off for others — isn’t going to help either.
  • The annual profits from growing a double crop of paddy and wheat even in a state like Haryana, where there is assured irrigation and minimum support price-based procurement, would not exceed Rs 50,000-60,000 per acre.
  • It translates into a yearly income of Rs 2.5-3 lakh for five acres. This is obviously lower for farmers with similar holdings in rainfed areas. These will, at any rate, be below the Rs 8 lakh “creamy layer” cut-off applicable for the non-farming EWS category that is predominantly savarna and urban-based.

Way Forward

  • It would have made far more sense — economically, legally, politically, morally and in the spirit of the Constitution — to have limited the 10 per cent EWS reservation to only those with farming or rural backgrounds.
  • As P S Krishnan has rightly pointed out, reservations were envisaged by our Constitution makers not to deal with “inequities against individuals”, but “deprivations imposed on certain social classes as a whole”.
  • Farmers today need support not just for remaining in agriculture, but also to enable exit by some in order to make holdings viable. This is a “group/sector” and not “individual poor” need.
  • The Indra Sawhney judgement allowed the 50 per cent limit quota limit to be exceeded in “certain extraordinary situations”, where a “special case [can] be made out”. Individual cases of poverty among urban savarnas do not represent an extraordinary situation, whereas creating a 10 per cent EWS category restricted only to farming/rural families not covered under the existing reservation provisions can be made out as a prudent response to the current crisis facing Indian agriculture.
  • Extending reservations to the children of all agriculturalists cultivating, say, up to 10 acres of irrigated and 20 acres of un-irrigated land would benefit not just numerically large communities such as the Marathas or Jats. There are many farmers who are Rajputs, Brahmins and upper caste Muslims as well.
  • Also, it is easier to fudge incomes than to prove one’s farming credentials that can come only with land ownership or kisan credit card documents.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Private Member’s Bill to allow employees to ignore calls after work


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Right to Disconnect Bill, 2018

Mains level:  Employee Welfare measures in India


  • A Member of Parliament has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to give employees the right to not respond to communication from employers outside of office hours.

Why such move?

  1. Studies have found that if an employee is expected to be available round the clock, they tend to exhibit risks of over-work like sleep deprivation, developing stress and being emotionally exhausted.
  2. This persistent urge to respond to calls and e-mails (termed as ‘telepressure’), constant checking of e-mails throughout the day, and even on weekends and holidays, is reported to have destroyed work-life balance of employees.

Right to Disconnect Bill, 2018

  1. The Bill is to “establish an Employees’ Welfare Authority to confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work-related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays.
  2. It calls for the Right to Refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours and for all matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  3. It means that while the employer may contact the worker after work hours, the employee is not obliged to reply or shall have the right to refuse to answer such calls.
  4. Further, in case an employee refuses to reply any call during out-of-work hours, such employee shall not be subject to any disciplinary action by the employer.
  5. Non-adherence would lead to penalties of one per cent of the total employee remuneration.

Various Provisions

Overtime Wages

  • If an employee works beyond work hours which are mutually agreed — he/she shall be entitled to overtime at the normal wage rate.

Digital Detox

  • The Bill states that the government is entitled to provide employees counselling, digital detox centres, and similar resources “to free an employee from digital distractions and enable him to truly connect with the people around him.

Employee Welfare Authority

  1. An Employee Welfare Authority will be set up, including IT, Communication and Labour ministers, under the Bill which.
  2. Besides publishing a study regarding the impact of digital tools beyond work hours and yearly reports, the authority is required to outline a charter outlining employee-employer negotiations.
  3. Companies with more than 10 employees would periodically negotiate specific terms with their workers, publish their own charter, and create an Employee Welfare Committee consisting of representatives of the company’s workforce.


Private member’s bill

  1. Members of Parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member’s bills.
  2. A private member bill can be introduced by both ruling party and opposition MPs.
  3. They can introduce a bill in the parliament after giving prior notice of one month.
  4. The bill needs to be passed in both houses of parliament.
  5. Once passed in both the houses, bill needs to get assent of the president to become an act.
  6. By set tradition, President can easily exercise his absolute veto power against such bills.
  7. In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of “Private Members’ Business”, i.e., Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions.

Global Geological And Climatic Events

Shifting north magnetic pole forces urgent navigation fix


Mains Paper 1: Geography | Changes in critical geographical features

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Magnetic Model

Mains level: Magnetic Pole Drifting


  • Rapid shifts in the Earth’s north magnetic pole are forcing researchers to make an early update to a model that helps navigation by ships, planes and submarines in the Arctic.

Shifting Magnetic North Pole

  1. Magnetic North Pole wanders, and every few hundred thousand years, the polarity flips so that a compass would point south instead of north.
  2. Liquid churning in Earth’s core generates most of the magnetic field, which varies over time as the deep flows change.
  3. However, the magnetic field has been changing so quickly and erratically that while conducting a routine check in early 2018, British and US researchers realized drastic steps were needed.
  4. The shift they observed was so large it was on the verge of exceeding the acceptable limit for navigation errors.
  5. Scientists must periodically update the World Magnetic Model to map this process, and the most recent version – produced in 2015 – was intended to last until 2020.

Tracking the movement

  1. The wandering pole is driven by unpredictable changes in liquid iron deep inside the Earth.
  2. It’s moving at about 50 km (30 miles) a year.
  3. It didn’t move much between 1900 and 1980 but it’s really accelerated in the past 40 years.
  4. On the contrary, the South magnetic pole drift is very slow (less than 10 km per year).
  5. It has not changed much over the past few decades, and hence provided a much smaller contribution to the overall model declination error.

Why Drift?

  1. The Earth’s magnetic field is in a permanent state of change.
  2. Magnetic north drifts around and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so a compass would point south instead of north.
  3. The strength of the magnetic field also constantly changes and currently it is showing signs of significant weakening.

Effect on Life

  1. Life has existed on the Earth for billions of years, during which there have been many reversals.
  2. There is no obvious correlation between animal extinctions and those reversals. Likewise, reversal patterns do not have any correlation with human development and evolution.
  3. It appears that some animals, such as whales and some birds use Earth’s magnetic field for migration and direction finding.
  4. Since geomagnetic reversal takes a number of thousands of years, they could well adapt to the changing magnetic environment or develop different methods of navigation.

Effect on Climate

  1. Earth’s magnetic field, which has existed for at least 3.45 billion years, provides a shield from the direct impact of solar radiation.
  2. Even with Earth’s strong magnetic field today, we’re still susceptible to solar storms that can damage our electricity-based society.
  3. The fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.


World Magnetic Model

  1. The World Magnetic Model (WMM) is a large spatial-scale representation of the Earth’s magnetic field.
  2. It consists of a degree and order 12 spherical harmonic expansion of the magnetic potential of the geomagnetic main field generated in the Earth’s core.
  3. The charts are used to convert between compass measurements of magnetic north and true north.
  4. It can be found in the navigation systems of ships and airplanes as well as geological applications (such as drilling and mining).
  5. Researchers from the U.S.’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintain the WMM.
  6. The charts, known as the World Magnetic Model (WMM), are used to convert between compass measurements of magnetic north and true north
  7. The WMM is also part of map applications in smartphones, including the Google Maps App.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Sikkim launches “One Family One Job” Scheme


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development & Employment

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ‘One Family One Job’ scheme

Mains level: Ensuring employment in NE states


  • Sikkim has recently launched the ‘One Family One Job’ scheme which entitles one government job for every family in the state.

‘One Family One Job’ Scheme

  1. The scheme envisions employment to a member of every family which does not have a government job in the state.
  2. Under this scheme, all loan debts in the farming and agriculture sector would be revoked.
  3. At present recruitments are being made for Group C and Group D posts in 12 government departments.
  4. The letters were awarded only to members of those families which do not have a government job at present.
  5. The task of providing employment was entrusted to the Department of Personnel.
  6. Over 25,000 already employed but unregularised government employees would also be subsequently regularized within 2019 according to their seniority.

What makes it special?

  1. Sikkim has become the first state in the country to carry out such an exclusive programme for the people who would now be entitled to state government employee benifits.
  2. Sikkim was the only state that earmarks 70 per cent of its revenues towards salaries for state government employees.
  3. As of now, the state government has over 1 lakh regularised employees on its rolls from a population of just 6.4 lakh.
  4. Sikkim is also the only state in the country that gives the highest salaries to state government employees.

[pib] National Youth Parliament Festival 2019


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Initiatives for involvement of youth in legislation activities


  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched the National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 beginning the celebration of the National Youth Day 2019.

National Youth Parliament

  1. Aim: To provide a chance to the youth to brainstorm about new India and to find ways and chalk out plans to realize our resolves before 2022.
  2. The Ministry has proposed to take the Youth Festival to each district of the country and celebrate it as the “National Youth Parliament Festival”.
  3. Organising District Youth Parliaments and taking the festival to the doorsteps of the youth would provide an opportunity to large number of youth of this country to participate.
  4. National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 is organised on the theme of “Be The Voice of New India” and “Find solutions and contribute to policy”.
  5. Youth in the age bracket of 18-25 years are invited to participate in the District Youth Parliaments.

National Youth Parliament Festival 2019

  1. It will be conducted at three levels:
  • District Youth Parliament (DYP) at the district level. The participants for DYP would be selected through two screening processes i.e. Digital and Walk-in screenings in Nodal Institution in each district.
  • State Youth Parliament (SYP) at the State Level.
  • National Youth Parliament (NYP) at the National Level.
  1. A maximum of 50 best speakers from the Digital screening and 50 best speakers from Walk-in process, shortlisted by the Screening Committee in each district, will participate in the DYPs.
  2. The best three speakers selected by a Jury from each District Youth Parliament will participate at the State Youth Parliament.
  3. Similarly, the two best speakers selected from each State Youth Parliament will participate as speakers in the National Youth Parliament.
  4. The highest scorer from each District in the District Youth Parliament (DYP) will participate in the National Youth Parliament (NYP) as a delegate.
  5. The best three speakers at the National Youth Parliament will be awarded Rs. 2 Lakhs, Rs. 1.50 Lakhs and Rs. 1 Lakh respectively by the Prime Minister.

Why such move?

  1. This is done in order to hear the voice of youth in this age bracket who are allowed to vote but cannot contest in elections.
  2. It will also encourage the youth to engage with public issues, understand the common man’s point of view, form their opinion and express these in an articulate manner.
  3. Relevant and effective voices on the vision of New India would be captured and documented to make these available to policy makers and implementors to take it forward.


Citizenship and Related Issues

Centre to revive National Population Register (NPR)


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Register of Citizens (NRC), NPR

Mains level: Measures to curb illegal immigration in border areas


  • The Union government has decided to revive ambitious National Register of Indian Citizens project across country as part of drive to identify illegal immigrant.
  • The Centre has decided to give a fresh impetus to the department of the National Population Register (NPR) under the Registrar General of India.

About National Population Register (NPR)

  1. The NPR is a Register of usual residents of the country.
  2. It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  3. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  4. A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
  5. The objective is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.

Why such move?

  1. The division had turned almost non-functional after Aadhaar gained supremacy in the NDA government’s agenda in late 2014.
  2. Data for NPR was collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of the Census.
  3. However, the main task assigned to the department for the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) had been shelved by the government.
  4. If a final go-ahead is given by the government, an exercise will be carried out for the creation of two databases.
  5. The NPR’s main task is to generate the NRIC.
  6. The rest will automatically become National Register of Residents or NRR. It is called a filtering process, and involves field verification as well as scrutiny of documents.

In line with NRC

  1. The process for the NRC has been envisaged in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  2. The NRC exercise in Assam and the subsequent releasing of the data appears to have provided a much-needed push for the NRC project.
  3. The idea of the NRC is being seen as a last-ditch effort to contain the influx of illegal immigrants.
  4. Over 40 lakh people were left out of the Assam NRC in July, and after claims and settlement, a final list will be released.

MPNIC Proposal First Moved In 2000

  1. The Group of Ministers’ (GoM) report after the Kargil war had suggested that the government must identify citizens and non-citizens, and both should be given different identity cards.
  2. Illegal migration has assumed serious proportions.
  3. There should be compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens living in India which will facilitate preparation of a national register of citizens.
  4. All citizens should be given a Multi-Purpose National Identity Card (MPNIC) and non-citizens should be issued identity cards of a different colour and design.
  5. This should be introduced initially in the border districts, or maybe in a 20-kilometre border belt and extended to the hinterland progressively.