For its National Population Register (NPR) exercise, the Union government is set to launch a drive that will ask the “head of the family” to furnish 21 identifiers, which will include Aadhaar, voter ID card, driver’s license, among others, The Economic Times reported. The nationwide NPR exercise will be carried out from April 1 to September 30.
The NPR seeks to record the ‘unusual residents’ in India and who have lived in an area for the previous six months or more, or persons who intend to stay there for the next six months or more, the ET report said, citing an official notification.
The NPR form is likely to contain the contentious “date and place of birth of parents” column. However, the ET cited a senior government official as saying that this question didn’t have any sinister connotations.
What is the National Population Register?
Critics have alleged that the NPR is a first step towards the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Interestingly, then minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju, had told the Parliament on November 26, 2014: “The NPR is the first step towards creation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by verifying the citizenship status of every usual residents.”
However, home minister Amit Shah has said that NPR will not be used for an NRC exercise. He has further stated that there has been no discussion on a nationwide NRC.
Further, the Twitter account of the home ministry spokesperson said that a report by The Hindu which said: "Respondents to NPR exercise will get time to provide papers families would need to dig out old documents and ensure that such documents are readily available for verification and enumerators would see those documents" was incorrect.
The account went on state that no documents will need to be submitted by the respondents during the NPR process.
"The story ignores government's stated position that no individual will be required to submit any document to any authority or enumerator visiting his/her household for NPR survey," read the tweet. "Information provided by the individual would be accepted and recorded accordingly," it added.
However, it failed to answer whether respondents will be asked to show the documents.
The NPR exercise will be conducted over a mobile application which only users with verified credentials will be able to download. Test runs for the NPR exercise were conducted between April 12 and September 30, 2019 and covered 3 million citizens.
First Published: IST