The government of India has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) by September 2020 to lay the foundation for a citizens' register across the country.
What is the NPR?
The NPR will be a list of the usual residents of the country.
Who is a usual resident under it?
For the purpose of the list, a usual resident is defined as a person who has lived in one place for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
What is National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC)?
Once the NPR is completed and published, it is expected to be the basis for preparing the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), a pan-India version of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC).
What is the statutory basis for it?
In pursuance of sub-rule (4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the central government decided to prepare and update the Population Register.
Who conducts it?
Registrar General of Citizen Registration and Census Commissioner. The NPR will be prepared at the local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
Is it mandatory for all citizens to be registered? If so, why?
It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars. If excluded, the very citizenship of the individual becomes questionable with grave consequences as in Assam.
Was it conducted before?
The exercise was conducted earlier in two phases in 2010 and 2015.
Is it like Aadhaar list?
No. Aadhaar is not a confirmation of citizenship. It is only an identity. But the goal for NPR is almost the same as for Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar cards. It is to improve implementation of the economic policies of the government and its various programs, in so far as they affect different segments of the population. NPR and UIDAI work closely together to create a database of Indian residents.