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NPR - National Population Register

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    31st Dec, 2019

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR), which is linked to the Census. The exercise will cost Rs 8,500 crore, the government said.


The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR), which is linked to the Census. The exercise will cost Rs 8,500 crore, the government said.

Background/General Features of the National Population Register

  • The Census Commission has said the objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every "usual resident" of the country.
  • The database will have demographic details.
  • A "usual resident", for the NPR, is a person who has lived in an area for at least six months or more, or a person who intends to live in an area for the next six months or more. It is mandatory for every "usual resident" of India to register in the NPR.
  • The NPR, since it is linked to the Census, is seen as the first step towards a nationwide exercise to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • Though an NPR doesn't necessarily mean it's guaranteed there will be an NRC, it clears the path for a nationwide citizens' list.
  • This is seen as one of the reasons why some states like West Bengal and Kerala, which are opposed to the NRC, have stopped work on the NPR.
  • NPR was first done in 2010 and was later updated in 2015 when it was linked with the Aadhar.

What is NPR?

  • The NPR is a register of the usual residents of the country.
  • It contains information collected at the local (village/sub-town), subdistrict, 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.

Who is usual resident of India?

  • A usual resident is defined, for the purposes of the NPR, as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more, or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months.
  • The law compulsorily seeks to register every citizen of India and issue a national identity card.

Who will conduct NPR?

  • The process of updating NPR will be carried out under the aegis of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India.

How is NPR different than census?

  • While the process of NPR and Census will begin simultaneously, the two databases are not same.
  • The decennial census is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India.
  • While NPR only contains demographic information, more details are required for census like information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, and housing and household amenities besides others.
  • The census is the basis for reviewing the country's progress in the past decade, monitoring the on-going schemes of the government and plan for the future.
  • The census provides detailed and authentic information on demography, economic activity, literacy and education, housing and household amenities, urbanisation, fertility and mortality, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, language, religion, migration, disability besides others.
  • The enumerators also collect data related to cultivators and agricultural labourers, their sex, occupational classification of workers in the non-households industry, trade, business, profession or service by class of worker and sex.
  • There will be a detailed survey on gender and literacy rate, a number of towns, slum households and their population.
  • Information is also collected on sources of potable water, energy, irrigation, method of farming, whether a house is a concrete, thatched or others.

How is NPR different than NRC?

  • National Population Register is a database of people living in India, citizens or not, but National Resgiter of Citizens is a database of Indian citizens.
  • The NRC process demands proof of citizenship from the respondents. Those who found in want of the proof may face deportation or detention in long run. But in NPR, there is no need to provide any document.

Will anyone lose citizenship because of NPR?

  • It is possible that some names are missed in the NPR, still their citizenship will not be revoked because this is not the process of NRC.
  • The officials have also said that there is no plan to use data collected during NPR to form the basis of NRC.

What is the use of NPR?

  • NPR data helps identify the demographics of actual residents who will be direct beneficiaries of any schemes launched in the area.
  • The NPR data will help government design and adapt schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Jandhan Yojna, or medium of instruction in schools as per the current demographics, thus making the schemes more effective.
  • It will streamline data of residents across various platforms.
  • It will help in implementing the idea of ‘One Identity Card’ that has been recently floated by the government
  • It would also eliminate duplication in voter lists, government insists.

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