Citizenship and Related Issues

National Population Register


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: National Population Register

Mains level: NPR, NRC issues

The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has said the schedule or the questionnaire of the National Population Register (NPR) is being finalised.

The National Population Register (NPR)

  • The NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.
  • It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
  • The last census was in 2011, and the next will be done in 2021 (and will be conducted through a mobile phone application).
  • A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more and intends to reside there for another six months or more

How it is different from the Census?

  • The census involves a detailed questionnaire and there were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census.
  • They aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, whether they belonged to any SC or ST etc.
  • On the other hand, NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
  • Once the basic details of the head of the family are taken by the enumerator, an acknowledgement slip will be issued. This slip may be required for enrolment in NPR, whenever that process begins.
  • The details will be recorded in every local (village or ward), sub-district (tehsil or taluk), district and state level.
  • Once the details are recorded, there will be a population register at each of these levels. Together, they constitute the National Population Register.

What is the legal basis for the NPR?

  • While the census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948, the NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • Section 14A was inserted in the Citizenship Act, 1955, in 2004, providing for the compulsory registration of every citizen of India and the issue of a “national identity card” to him or her.
  • It also said the Central government may maintain a “National Register of Indian Citizens”.
  • The Registrar General India shall act as the “National Registration Authority” (and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration).
  • Incidentally, the Registrar General is also the country’s Census Commissioner.

Attempt this question

Q.Enumerate the major points of the ‘Assam accord (1985)’. How is it associated with the present issue of the National Register of Citizens?

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