Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
- The Union Home Ministry has informed a parliamentary panel that it proposes to collect details on additional questions such as “date and place of birth of parents” in the National Population Register (NPR) to “facilitate back-end data processing and making the data items of date and place of birth complete for all household[s]”.
- In an indication that the government is reluctant to drop contentious questions from the National Population Register (NPR) form, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had told a Parliamentary standing committee that these questions were asked in the past as well and are necessary for back-end data processing.
Concerns of the The Standing Committee on Ministry of Home Affairs tabled in its report on Demands for Grants (2020-2021)
- The Committee, on 18th February observed that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among people regarding the upcoming NPR and Census.
- The Committee feels these apprehensions should have been duly ventilated in the media. The MHA must consider some way out so that the Census goes smoothly.
- The committee had enquired about the possibility of using Aadhaar database for updating NPR without undergoing fresh exercise to prevent duplication of efforts and expenditure.
- West Bengal, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Delhi have demanded that either the NPR be scrapped or the update be done using the 2010 form.
Response of the Government
- Various welfare schemes of the State and Central governments are generally family-based, for which NPR data may be used
- The government says linking the two will facilitate Aadhaar’s integration with other databases and help clean the various other databases.
- The MHA says government-created databases such as Aadhaar, Voter ID, birth & death register, NPR, driving licence and passport may contain “many spurious and incorrect entries in databases”.
- These databases, the ministry told the House panel, do not communicate with one another since there is no common identifier. “Collection of Aadhaar number (on voluntary basis), Voter ID, passport number and driving licence number during updation of NPR will facilitate communication among these databases, subject to the existing laws,” it said.
- The Aadhaar number, the MHA reasons, can act as a common link among these large databases.
What is NPR?
- National Population Register (NPR) is a list of “usual residents of the country”.
- A “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
- The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- It is mandatory for every “usual resident of India” to register in the NPR.
- It will be conducted by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Home Ministry.