As per latest reports, the Modi government has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) by September next year. It will be a list of usual residents of the country. A usual resident is defined is someone who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or who intends to reside in a local area for the coming six months or more. According to an official, the NPR, once prepared and published will form the basis of the preparation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The NRIC would be a pan-India version of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Vivek Joshi, Registrar General of Citizen Registration and Census Commissioner, issued a notification stating, “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 hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register… “… And the field work for house-to-house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of local registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020.”
The NPR which is going to be an extensive exercise would 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.
It is important to mention here that it is mandatory for every usual resident to register with the NPR. The objective of the National Population Register is going to be to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. It would also contain the demographic and biometric details of those registered under the NPR.
It must be noted that the opposition had cried foul after the draft NRC was published. West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee had gone on to state, “The NRC is being done with a political motive. We will not let this happen. They (BJP) are trying to divide the people. The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, bloodbath in the country.”
This had stroked a major controversy. But the Modi government seems to be persisting with the NPR followed by probable preparation of an NCIR in spite of such reckless remarks by the opposition leaders.
Last year, current Union Home Minister Amit Shah had indicated that the Modi government could carry out a pan-India NRC after the conclusion of Assam NRC update. Shah had said, “40 lakh infiltrators have entered our country illegally. They have no right to remain in the country…We will give all of them opportunity to prove their citizenship but those who are unable to do so have no right to participate in the democratic processes of the country.”