The National Population Register (NPR) form used at the trial stage in September 2019, seeking details of the “place of birth of father and mother”, is likely to be finalised as the authorities did not receive any adverse feedback from a sample set of respondents.
Around 30 lakh people responded to the “pretest” form that was used to collect data in 74 districts. It sought details on 21 parameters, especially the “ place of birth of father and mother , the last place of residence”, along with Aadhaar (optional), voter ID card, mobile phone and driving licence numbers.
The present NPR has a database of 119 crore residents.
“None of the respondents gave an adverse feedback. The final form is likely to remain the same,” the official said.
Another official said families will be informed in advance about the visit of an enumerator so that the documents of all individuals are readily available for verification.
Media images of ‘National Population Register 2020 forms’ spark confusion
National Population Register data first collected in 2010, updated in 2015
“If there are 15 members in the family, the enumerators would give them a prior notice, so that documents of all are available when the field visit is undertaken. The enumerator will see the documents,” the official said.
The NPR training manual said the existing database would be updated by verifying the details of all respondents through house-to-house enumeration.
The NPR exercise conducted first in 2010 and subsequently updated in 2015 , collected details on the following 15 parameters only — name of person, relationship to head of household, father’s name, mother’s name, spouse’s name (if married), sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, nationality (as declared), present address of usual residence, duration of stay at present address, permanent residential address, occupation/activity and educational qualification.
Along with census
The fresh NPR data will be conducted from April- September 2020 along with the decennial Census exercise.
West Bengal and Kerala have issued orders that they will not allow NPR in their States. Chief Ministers of other Congress-ruled States have also declined to update NPR amid apprehensions that it will be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Though the government has denied that there was any link between NPR and the NRC, the Rules inserted in 2003 to the Citizenship Act, 1955 , clearly provides for the creation of NRC that will flow from data gathered in the NPR .
The Rules empower local officials to decide on a person’s citizenship status. The Assam-specific NRC, conducted under the supervision of Supreme Court, had excluded 19 lakh out of 3.29 crore residents. There are apprehensions that people will have to dig out old documents to prove their residency in India on the lines of the exercise conducted in Assam.
No documents need to be produced for NPR: Union Home Ministry
The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday clarified that no person needs to submit any documents during the house-to-house survey for updating the National Population Register and that information provided by individuals would be accepted and recorded.
Through a series of tweets, the Ministry sought to deny the thrust of a report in The Hindu headlined NPR trial form gets government nod for rollout that appeared on January 1.
The Ministry spokesperson’s official Twitter handle said: “The line taken by the story is incorrect, without taking into account the factual position for conducting NPR.”
It went on to say: “The story incorrectly quotes government officials that ‘respondents to NPR exercise will get time to provide papers’ and ‘families would need to dig out old documents and ensure that such documents are readily available for verification & enumerators would see those documents’.” It added: “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. Information provided by the individual would be accepted and recorded accordingly.”
Our Special Correspondent responds:
The report that is sought to be denied is based on points given in the NPR manual .
The manual clearly mentions that the existing database would be updated by verifying the details of all respondents through house-to-house enumeration.
The Hindu had reported this earlier on December 26. ( NPR: House to house enumeration planned )
The relevant points in the NPR Training Manual that indicate that the details collected by the enumerators will be verified are:
- 1.6 The Government has decided to update the NPR database along with Houselisting and Housing Census phase of Census of India 2021 during April– September 2020.
- 1.7 Updating the existing NPR database by verifying the details of all residents by conducting a house to house enumeration by the enumerator (designated Government official) and modifying/correcting the demographic data items.
- 1.8 Collecting Aadhaar number from each resident voluntarily.
- 1.9 Collecting mobile number, Election Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) or Voter ID Card number, Indian Passport number and Driving License number, if available with the residents.
- 1.10 Inclusion of all new resident(s)/new household(s) found in the local area (HLB) during the field work.
The Ministry spokesperson has not denied the point that the National Population Register form will include an additional column seeking details of the “ place of birth of father and mother ”.