Centre to revive National Population Register (NPR)

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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


News

  • 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.
Citizenship and Related Issues
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