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The Requisite To Update the National Population Register

Context

In its most recent annual report, the Home Ministry emphasised the importance of updating the National Population Register (NPR) database across the country, with the exception of Assam. This includes changes due to birth, death, and migration, for which demographic and other information about each family and individual will be collected.

Relevance

GS Paper 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Mains Question

What exactly is the National Population Register (NPR)? What exactly are its goals? What distinguishes it from the National Register of Citizens (NRC)? Discuss. (250 Words)


National Population Register (NPR)

  • The National Population Register (NPR) is a list of the country’s regular residents. Every ordinary resident of India is required to register in the NPR.
    • A usual resident is defined 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, according to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
    • It includes both Indian citizens and foreign citizens.
  • The NPR’s goal is to compile a comprehensive identity database of every regular resident in the country.
  • The first National Population Register was created in 2010, and the data was updated in 2015 through a door-to-door survey.
    • The next National Population Register was scheduled to coincide with the 2021 Census.
    • Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of updating the NPR and other related field activities was put on hold.
  • NPR is carried out by the Home Ministry’s Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI).

NPR’s legal foundation

  • The NPR is prepared in accordance with Rule 3 of the 2003 Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules.
    • The Citizenship Act of 1955 established these rules.
  • The NPR differs from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which does not include foreign citizens.
    • The NRC is a register that contains information about Indian citizens living in and outside of India.

Details required for NPR

  • The demographic details for every usual resident are required on 21 points, which include ‘date and place of birth of parents,’ last place of residence, Permanent Account Number (PAN), Aadhar (on a voluntary basis), Voter ID card number, Driving License Number, and Mobile Number. • In the NPR done in 2010, data was collected on 15 points, which did not include ‘date and place of birth of parents,’ and last place of residence.
  • The NPR must be updated again to account for changes caused by birth, death, and migration, for which demographic and other information about each family and individual must be collected.
  • This was emphasised in the MHA’s recently published annual report.

Key Highlights of the report:

  • A three-pronged approach to updating the NPR database
    • It will include self-updating, in which residents will update their own data on a web portal after following some authentication protocols.
  • NPR data is being updated in both paper and mobile formats.
    • During the exercise, the demographic and other details of each family and individual must be collected and updated.
    • During the update, no documents or biometrics will be collected.
  • Certificates of citizenship issued by authorities
    • According to the report, a total of 1,414 citizenship certificates were granted by all authorities between April 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
    • According to the report, the Central Government has delegated to Collectors of 29 districts and Home Secretaries of nine states the authority to grant Indian citizenship in certain categories.
  • This includes the authority to grant citizenship through registration or naturalisation to members of the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, or Parsi communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
  • Long-term visas granted o According to the report, the Home Ministry granted long-term visas to 2,439 members of minority communities from the three neighbouring countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh) in the previous year.
  • A long-term visa is a prerequisite for Indian citizenship.
  • CAA not mentioned o The report, which compiles all of the Ministry’s accomplishments and functions, does not mention the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.
  • CAA expedites the naturalisation of six non-Muslim undocumented communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.
  • This legislation has yet to be implemented because the rules have not yet been drafted.

February 2024
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