Answering the controversial question about the connection between NPR and NRC
After the proposal for National Population Register was passed in the Parliament, people across the country came up with different theories. Some people said that NPR is the first step of NRC (National Register of Citizens), which created havoc in Assam. Others said that there is no connection between the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens.
What is NPR?
National Population Register is the list of “usual residents of the country”. Usual Residents are those people who are staying at a place for 6 months or intend to stay there for the next 6 months. NPR is not the citizenship enumeration drive as it also includes the foreign national staying in the country at a certain place for more than 6 months. On the other hand, NRC is the list of people who are the citizens of the country. NRC seeks to identify and exclude non-citizens.
Is NPR connected to NRC?
The Citizenship Act empowers the government to compulsorily register every citizen and maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens. If a nationwide NRC is undertaken- it would flow out of NPR. It is not necessary that NRC should be followed by the NPR. No such register was compiled after the previous National Population Register in 2010. After the NPR is prepared and NRC takes place, it could take help from the NPR.
The Home Ministry earlier issued a statement saying that there is no proposal to conduct an NRC on the national level at present. Union Home Minister Amit Shah too said during an interview that the two are not interconnected.
Earlier, Amit Shah has said several times that nationwide NRC would take place. The latest annual report of Home Ministry and government in parliament has made statements linking the NPR and NRC. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in November 2014, indicated that NPR is the first step of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by verifying the citizenship status of every usual resident.
What makes the NRC controversial?
One debate has been about the privacy of individuals. The NPR intends to collect personal data from the usual residents. The NPR is amongst a host of identity databases such as passport, Aadhar Card, Voter ID and more. Amit Shah had said that he would like to see all this information combined in one card.
The biggest controversy with the NPR is that it is asking for the Date and Place of Birth of Parents. Asking for parent information makes no sense if the NPR is only intended to know about the usual residents.
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