Updated: March 12, 2020 8:02:29 pm
Amid concerns expressed by Opposition parties on the National Population Register (NPR), Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday reiterated that no documents would be required to be submitted during the exercise while saying that no one would be marked “doubtful”.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during a debate on the riots in northeast Delhi, Amit Shah said, “I am again repeating that no documents will be needed for National Population Register (NPR). All the information asked is optional. Nobody has to fear from the process of NPR. There will be no ‘D’ (doubtful) category.”
On the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has led to widespread protests across the country and is believed to be at the heart of the riots that broke out in northeast Delhi, leaving 53 people dead, Amit Shah said the legislation would not take anyone’s citizenship.
EXPLAINED | Why NPR isn’t NRC
“I reiterate to my Muslim brothers and sisters that false propaganda is being spread on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This Act is not to take anyone’s citizenship but to give citizenship,” Amit Shah said.
The NPR exercise is to be carried out with the house-listing phase of Census 2020 and is scheduled to begin on April 1. The NPR, data for which was first collected in 2010 and updated in 2015, is a list of “usual residents of the country”.
So far, West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh have asked the Centre to halt the exercise of updating the NPR. The Bihar Assembly resolution demands that the NPR exercises be carried out in accordance with the 2010 format.
According to the Home Ministry, a “usual resident of the country” is one who has been residing in a local area for at least six months or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
In the 2018-19 Annual Report of the Home Ministry, the NPR was described as the first step towards the implementation of the controversial NRC, an issue that has led to widespread protests across the country. However, Amit Shah later said the two were not connected and that NPR data would not be used for NRC.
The NPR will collect both demographic data and biometric data, although for the latter it will depend upon Aadhaar. In the last NPR in 2010, data were collected on 15 aspects; in the 2020 NPR, there are 21 data points — another thorny issue that the Opposition has protested against.
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