The National Population Register (NPR) is a comprehensive identity database to be maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India , Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India (RGI).
The objective of creating this identity database is to help in better utilization and implementation of the benefits and services under the government schemes, improve planning and security in the country.
Legal backing for NPR
The NPR is legally grounded in the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. It is mandatory for every usual resident in India to register in the NPR as per Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, as amended in 2004. A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
Differences between the UID and NPR
• Voluntary vs. Mandatory: It is compulsory for all Indian residents to register with the NPR, while registration with the UIDAI is considered voluntary.
• Statute vs. Bill: The enrolment of individuals for the NPR is legally backed by the Citizenship Act, except in relation to the collection of biometrics, while the UID as proposed a bill which has not been passed for the legal backing of the scheme.
• Authentication vs. Identification: The UID number will serve as an authenticator during transactions. The National Resident Card will signify resident status and citizenship.
• Door to door canvassing vs. centreenrolment: Individuals will have to go to an enrolmentcentre and register for the UID, while the NPR will carry out part of the enrolment of individuals through door to door canvassing. Note: Individuals will still have to go to centers for enrolling their biometrics for the NPR scheme.
Issues related to NPR
• Many concerns have been raised about the use of biometrics in terms of legality, effectiveness, and accuracy of the technology.
• Information collected during formation of NPR may be misused if safeguards to maintain privacy are inadequate.
• Duplication of efforts by agencies for collecting personal information such as NPR, MGNREGS, BPL census, UIDAI, RSBY and Bank Smart Cards.
• Involvement of private agencies in collecting information can act as a threat to national security.