Updated: December 24, 2019 9:55:17 pm
The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tuesday approved a proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR). A budget of Rs 3,941 crore has been allocated for the process, PTI reported. The NPR exercise will require people to declare ‘date and place of birth of parents’ besides furnishing data on 21 other points.
The updating of the NPR holds significance in the context of the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, which, along with the amended Citizenship law, has led to violent protests across the country. The NPR exercise is to commence from April next year.
Addressing mediapersons, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said there was no proposal to conduct a nationwide National Register of Citizens on the basis of data collected through the National Population Register.
“We have never said that NPR (National Population Register) will be used as NRC (National Register of Citizens). I completely deny (this),” Javadekar said.
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The data that will be collected for updating the NPR includes parents’ date and place of birth, last place of residence, Permanent Account Number, Aadhaar (on a voluntary basis), Voter ID card number, Driving Licence number and mobile number.
In the last NPR exercise in 2010, data was not collected on the date and place of birth of parents, the last place of residence, passport number, Aadhaar, PAN, Driving Licence number, Voter ID card, and mobile number. In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.
“The data for NPR will be updated alongside the first phase of Census…No biometric data is being collected during the exercise,” a source told The Indian Express.
According to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, notified on December 10, 2003, a Population Register is ‘the register containing details of persons usually residing in a village or rural area or town or ward or demarcated area (demarcated by the Registrar General of Citizen Registration) within a ward in a town or urban area.’
Last week, the CPI(M)-led Kerala government and TMC government in West Bengal put on hold the NPR process amid fears that it was the “first step” towards NRC.
The order in Kerala, issued by the General Administration Department, said the decision was taken “considering the apprehension among the general public about the conduct of National Population Register-related activities lead(ing) to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act”.
First step towards NRC: Opposition hits out at govt
Hitting out at the Centre, Congress leader Ajay Maken said the Home Ministry, in its annual report, has stated that the NPR was the first step to NRC and alleged that the government was linking the two.
“NPR alone is fine, but when you link it with NRC, it becomes draconian. Then it becomes something which is a violation of human rights and of the secular credentials of the Constitution,” PTI quoted Maken as saying.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien said BJP was trying to “fool and cheat” the people of the country as the population register is the “first step towards NRC”.
“BJP is cheating the people. The cabinet decision on NPR has been taken and funds approved. NPR (National Population Register) is the first step of the NRC (National Register of Citizens),” PTI quoted O’Brien as saying.
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