Being a part of a Democratic country like India, it is absolutely customary when people’s voices are heard. In a culture where autonomy lies within the residents themselves, it becomes a standard set for the chosen Government to deliver all the righteous opportunities in a constitutional manner. NPR or National Population Register is a collection of the data of every usual resident in the country. The usual residents referred in accordance with NPR are the citizens who have been living in a particular area of the country for a period of or more than 6 months or a person who is planning to reside in that vicinity for the next 6 months. The main purpose of NPR is to avail every citizen of India with National Identity Cards.
To be accurate with the facts, along with the house listing of 2011 Census, the last time that the database was updated was in the year 2015 through door to door surveys straight after 2001. But the Government still feels that there should be a final set of statistics about all the residents of the country describing mainly their demographic profile. In pursuance towards consummating this milestone, the Central Government pronounced to refurbish the NPR in the year 2020 in all states except Assam.
It is stated by the officials that the Government will provide a fund of Rs 3,941.35 Crores in order to continue this activity of increment in every state and union territories of the country except Assam wherein the defiance of illegal immigrants has already started during the end of this year.
But the latest affairs about many issues involving the stake of the sole audience of democracy has fabricated to the inhumane deportment of the Government as believed by many people. As the urge to clear this contention, many Parliamentarians like Prakash Javadekar or even Amit Shah has opposed this opinion and have up fronted their actual manifestation of theories to develop the country. Its is quite often that Census and NPR are used interchangeably but instead they have completely separate meanings.The government has clarified that Census of India 2021 as it is collected in every 10 years will be provided a fund of Rs 8754.23 Crores which proffers a data about gender and literacy rate, household and their population and number of towns. With this information about sources of water, irrigation, energy, whether a house if fully concreted or not and other details are also accorded.
What is NPR and Relations with respect to NRC and CAA
With a population of Approximate 1.339 billion of residents, many of them are believed to be without any National Identity and in response to this, the Government has offered to give all the ‘usual residents’ a card proving their identity towards the country through the method of collection of databases involving their demographic profile.
Although what the Government didn’t think of was that it actually created a deep torment in the religious eyes of the residents in India which reverberated in the faith of those people in the Governmental authorities going into a black hole.
On behalf of the Cabinet, Prakash Javadekar clarified that NPR is a population register and not a citizen’s collection of database. This means that NPR does not showcase any association with NRC or National Register of Citizens.
Along with this, there has also been an elucidation about how the residents were uneasy relating to the secular spirit of the country. Prakash Javadekar in his speech also deposited a deep emphasis on the contention that NPR is self-declaration and that there is no need of documents, bio metrics etc that needs to be showcased in order to prove themselves. These requirements are also valid for the Census data that will be collected for the future.
The main purpose of NPR is to identify the suitable beneficiaries of the subsidies so as to have a proper check on the system and to maintain a righteous foundation of equity especially in the rural areas of the country. But these methods are contrary to the contention that the Government isn’t applying this same procedure in the State of Assam.
With these reasons the Government of India has also stated that NPR will be commenced in July and August 2020 in all the Union territories and the States except Assam because over there already the brunt of NRC by the Government is instituted after the commencement of the CAA or the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
As it is clearly stated by the Government that NPR doesn’t obligates with the burden of proof on the citizens, but instead the self declaration will be the final say on the data, this theory has definitely created a sigh of relief within the residents of the country provided for the recent inharmonious mechanisms followed by the Government.
Controversy and Government’s response
It is keen to note that although the ruling party i.e., BJP have prima facie declared that NPR doesn’t have the same requisites as does the NRC or the CAA and is a part of Census but a Gazette notification of 2019, has clearly broached that the increment of Population Register will be done under “in pursuance of sub-rule (4) of Rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003”. The Rule 3 provides the concept of NRC and the sub-rule 4 yields with ‘the preparation of NRC’.
The information for National Population of Register was first collected in 2010 during the second term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, along with the house-listing phase of Census 2011. This data was updated in 2015 with door-to-door surveys. In the next step, the Government has decided to reform the NPR along with the house-listing phase of Census 2021 in 2020. But it is assiduous to note that the next step will also ask for information that was not sought before which is date and place of birth of parents. This information holds significance when viewed in the context of the proposed nationwide NRC.
At a cabinet briefing after the meeting, union minister Prakash Javadekar looked to downplay concerns over the link with National Register of Citizens and said there is “no proposal at present to link it with NRC”.
This controversy might have been clarified by the Government in a theoretical form but the majority of the population of the country still believes that while keeping in attention all the recent inharmonious circumstances, the practicality can anytime be reversed.
Instead of coming clean and reassuring the public on its plans, the ruling party further has sought to disordered the debate further by pointing out that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had arranged the NPR in 2010. In 2014, the BJP election manifesto explicitly divulged that India was a natural homeland for “persecuted Hindus”, and Mr. Modi made the extremely problematic distinction between “infiltrators” and “refugees”. With the rage of the passage of the CAA from the majority of the suffering population, and the announcement of the NRC, there are enough factual bases for doubting the government’s claim that the NPR has nothing to do with the NRC. In the current climate of panic among a conspicuous section of the country’s poor and the Muslim minorities, the government, at the highest levels must speak up to bolster their confidence in India’s constitutional democracy. Equivocation, and polarizing grandstanding on the CAA, the NRC, and now the NPR, may yield political dividends for the government but at a very exorbitant cost to the civilization’s peace and security.
Author: Gayatri Sharma,
GGSIPU, Jims School of Law, 2nd year/ Student