From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NPR, NRC, Census
Mains level : Debate over CAA
The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to conduct Census 2021 and update the National Population Register (NPR). While the Census will be conducted in 2021, the NPR update will take place from April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam.
This has sparked debate another debate about privacy. The NPR intends to collect many details of personal data on residents.
What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
- The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
- It includes both Indian citizens as well as a foreign citizen.
- The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
- The first NPR was prepared in 2010 and updating this data was done during 2015 by conducting door to door survey.
- The next update of the NPR will take place next year from April to September with the Houselisting phase of the Census 2021.
- 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.
What is the meaning of usual resident?
- According to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, a usual resident is 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.
What is the Census?
- The Census is the enumeration of the population of the country.
- It is being conducted at an interval of 10 years.
- The Census 2021 will be 16th census in the country since the first census happened in 1872. However, it will be 8th census after the Independence.
- For the first time, the Census 2021 will use the Mobile App for data collection. It will also provide a facility to the public for self-enumeration.
What is the difference between NPR and NRC?
- The NPR is different from the National Register of Citizens which excludes the foreign citizens.
- According to the Citizenship Rules 2003, a Population Register is ‘the register containing details of persons usually residing in a village or rural area or town or ward or demarcated area (demarcated by the Registrar General of Citizen Registration) within a ward in a town or urban area.
- Whereas, the ‘National Register of Indian Citizens’ is a register containing details of Indian Citizens living in India and outside India.
What is the link between NPR and NRC?
- The Citizenship Act empowers the government to compulsorily register every citizen and maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens. A nationwide NRC — if undertaken — would flow out of NPR.
- This does not necessarily mean that an NRC must follow NPR — no such register was compiled after the previous NPR in 2010.
- After a list of residents is created, a nationwide NRC — if it happens — could go about verifying the citizens from that list.
Issues with the states
- Citizenship, aliens and naturalization are subject matters listed in List 1 of the Seventh Schedule that fall exclusively under the domain of Parliament.
- Legally, the states have no say in implementing or ruling out NPR.
- However, given that the manpower is drawn from the states, the defiance could potentially result in a showdown.
- It issued a statement denying any proposal to conduct a nationwide NRC based on the NPR data.
- The NPR is among a host of identity databases such as Aadhaar, voter card, passport and more that Home Minister Shah said he would like to see combined into one card.