The Union Home Ministry has informed a parliamentary panel that it proposes to collect details on additional questions such as “date and place of birth of parents” in the National Population Register (NPR) to “facilitate back-end data processing and making the data items of date and place of birth complete for all household[s]”.
The Ministry said there was a need to update the NPR to “incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration”. “Aadhaar is individual data, whereas NPR contains family-wise data,” it said.
“Various welfare schemes of the State and Central governments are generally family-based, for which NPR data may be used,” it said.
Though the final NPR form for 2020 has not been made public, on February 18, Ministry officials informed the panel that “during the update of NPR 2020, it is proposed to collect data on some additional items like place of last residence, mother tongue, Aadhaar number (voluntary), mobile number, passport (Indian passport holder), voter ID card, driving licence number, date and place of birth of father and mother”.
The submission was made in response to a question by parliamentary committee members on the new questions in the form.
West Bengal, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Delhi have demanded that either the NPR be scrapped or the update be done using the 2010 form.
The Centre has proposed that the next phase of NPR will be conducted along with the house listing and house census exercise between April and September.
Ministry officials said, “The date and place of birth of parents were collected in NPR 2010 as well for all parents who were enumerated within the household. For parents living elsewhere or expired at the time of enumeration, only the names were collected...”
The parliamentary committee on Demands for Grants of the Ministry, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, said there was dissatisfaction and fear among the people regarding the upcoming NPR and Census. “The Committee also feels that these apprehensions should have been duly ventilated in the media. The MHA must consider some way out so that the Census goes smoothly. Otherwise, there is quite a chance of the entire process being stymied in many States,” the panel said in its report tabled in the Parliament on Thursday.
The committee also remarked that it was “not quite convinced with the reply of the Ministry that the Aadhaar is an individual data and in order to create a family database, NPR exercise has been undertaken”. The committee had enquired about the possibility of using Aadhaar database for updating NPR without undergoing fresh exercise to prevent duplication of efforts and expenditure.
“The committee would like the MHA to explore the feasibility of using the Aadhaar metadata for the Census and updation of NPR in 2020-21. Further, the committee recommends that all the States/UTs should be fully convinced on various issues pertaining to the NPR which commences in April to have a national consensus so that there is absolute clarity and no apprehension among remaining people across the country which will help in conducting these exercises in a smooth manner,” the panel said in its report.
More than 75 people have been killed in various incidents after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was passed in the Parliament on December 11. Several States including Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have witnessed protests against the CAA and the legislation’s link with the countrywide proposed National Register of Citizens and the NPR. According to Citizenship Rules 2003, NPR is the first step towards compilation of NRC, though government informed the Parliament on February 4 that “till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) at the national level.”