UPDATING NPR

The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR), which is linked to the Census.

  • The exercise will cost Rs 8,500 crore, the government said. The Census Commission has said the objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every “usual resident” of the country. The database will have demographic details.

Usual resident

Person who has lived in an area for at least six months or more, or a person who intends to live in an area for the next six months or more.

  • It is mandatory for every “usual resident” of India to register in the NPR.
  • The NPR, since it is linked to the Census, is seen as the first step towards a nationwide exercise to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • Though an NPR doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guaranteed there will be an NRC, it clears the path for a nationwide citizens’ list.
  • This is seen as one of the reasons why some states like West Bengal and Kerala, which are opposed to the NRC, have stopped work on the NPR.
  • Biometric data collection voluntarily is also a part of NPR.

WHY IS IT REQUIRED

  • 1st time NPR was done in 2010, prior to 2011 election.
  • NPR is said to help formulate it the policies of central government and better targeting the schemes to deserved citizenry.
  • NPR finds mention in citizenship rules 2003 which empowers government to create NPR.

CONCERNS

  • With such a huge amount of Data in place, government needs to consider the threat of data theft
  • It is estimated that, this process of NPR will cost 8500 cr. With more than half of women being anemic, and around 24% of population under poverty line, there are questions of the timing of the policy implementation.
  • Similar to violent anti CAA protests, NPR is potential enough to incite violence if there is no proper awareness among public
  • Implementation of NPR is the responsibility of states. Already Kerala and West Bengal are opposing NPR.
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