Definitive Guide on India's National Population Register (NPR)

Last updated on Dec 27, 2019

Posted on Dec 27, 2019

National Population Register has become a hot topic in India and a lot of falsehoods and misleading claims and information are being spread all over.  Here is detailed guide on what it is, it’s history, its components and how it helps.

History of National Population Register (NPR)

After Kargil, the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee included setting up a compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens to check illegal immigration.  It was recommended that all the citizens should be issued a Multi-purpose national Identity Card (MPNIC).  The non-citizens should get identity cards of a different color and design.

These recommendations were accepted by the Government in 2001.

National Population Register is primarily a register of residents (citizens and non-citizens) and is prepared at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, and national level under the Citizenship Act, 1955 provisions and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.  These 2003 rules were updated subsequently in 2015 with the addition of Aadhar.

A complete pilot was conducted between 2003 and 2009 under both, NDA and UPA governments.  The MNIC was implemented in some border areas of India.  This helped the agencies to understand the complexities involved with the whole exercise.  So in a way it helped zero down on and standardize the process, technology and methodology.

In 2006, a proposal was made to upscale the pilot and roll it out at the national level by the then UPA Government.

The data for the National Population Register (NPR) was first conducted in 2010 by states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Manipur and Rajasthan.  Five states including West Bengal used the NPR data to plan beneficiary schemes for its residents.

In 2015, the NPR was later updated by seeding it with the biometric information of Aadhaar.  The exercise cost Rs 951.35 crores at that time.

Information gathered under National Population Register (NPR)

Door-to-door survey was conducted to get data on these categories for the individuals:

  • Name of person
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Spouse’s name (if married)
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth
  • Nationality (as declared)
  • Present address of usual residence
  • Duration of stay at present address
  • Permanent residential address
  • Occupation/Activity
  • Educational qualification

This time, the National Population Register will additionally have the following information:

  • Aadhaar Number
  • PAN
  • driving licence
  • voter ID
  • passport information

While  the Aadhaar information sharing is voluntary for the residents in India, the other information is already part of the government databases and should not cause any issues in terms of privacy.

As per the government’s censusindia website, this sums up the current status of the entire exercise on NPR.

The data for National Population Register was collected in 2010 alongwith the houselisting phase of Census of India 2011. The updation of this data was done during 2015 by conducting door to door survey. The digitisation of the updated information has been completed. Now it has been decided to update the National Population Register along with the Houselisting phase of Census 2021 during April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam. A Gazette notification to this effect has already been published by the Central Government.

For the next exercise in 2021, the government has already approved funds for the work. ₹8,700 crore for the Census and another ₹3,900 crore for updation of the National Population Register (NPR).  The whole exercise will be carried out between April to September 2020 in all the states and the union territories except Assam.

So, notice a few critical things –

  1. Religion is not an information collected in the survey of National Population Register
  2. The 2021 NPR exercise will not be the first one.  A pilot was already done under both, UPA (with Congress Party as the lead) and NDA (wih BJP as the lead) from 2003 through to 2009.  And one full exercise has been done in 2010 and it was updated with the seeding of the Aadhaar card information in 2015.  All that has been digitized
  3. It is a population register with both – citizens and non-citizens – in it.
  4. If religion is not part of the NPR and the same exercise has been done in the past, along with an update, how does this particular one become “divisive”?

No proof or documents will be needed.  Self-declaration will be sufficient for the purposes of the National Population Register. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has already confirmed that.

Welfare Beneficiaries and the National Population Register (NPR) Data

Government’s welfare schemes – specifically from the Modi administration – have been very successful in helping the poor.  For example read – How Jan Dhan Yojana helped lower inflation and alcoholism

The data from NPR is the basis of decisions on the beneficiaries of different welfare schemes.  The Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) is based on NPR data.  As The Hindu quoted a senior official, who the beneficiary is for the state and center schemes is decided based on this data from NPR.

“Household wise NPR data was used in better targeting of schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojana, Prime Minister Awas Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya etc,” the official claimed. The Hindu

So if a resident of India is not in the National Population Register or not tagged and/or categorized properly, then s/he will not be able to avail any beneficiary schemes from the state or center. If, therefore, anyone follows the utterly idiotic “advice” from the thoroughly deranged Arundhati Roy on NPR (i.e., give fake names and addressed in the survey), the poor who should be getting benefits from government schemes will be left with nothing, while she obviously enjoys her life in the luxurious bungalow built on illegal tribal land.

Conclusion

A few things are fairly obvious.  The National Population Register (NPR) is not being started by the present government (as Bloomberg has so foolishly asserted).

The governments of the day from 2003-2009 had conducted a pilot and the the previous government had already started the NPR in 2010.  That was updated in 2015 with the Aadhaar information.  The only thing being done is to add the driver’s license, PAN, and passport information, which has no link to anything “divisive” as the various clueless writers and commentators may try to portray.

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