The central government on Tuesday said the National Population Register (NPR) has no connection to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the upgrade process that will begin next April.
Union home minister Amit Shah emphasized the distinction between NPR and NRC, while NPR is a policy NRC database, it is the mechanism where people are asked to prove their citizenship.
As the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC has gained momentum both at home and abroad, the central government is trying to avoid NRC's problem.
Earlier Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke of updating the NRC nationally after the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was introduced, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently denied any such statements.
Amit Shah has now dissipated reports about any NPR-NRC connection.
But the home ministry said the National Population Register (NPR) on November 26, 2014 is the "first step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).
The then union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju in a reply to Dr. T.N. Seema in the Rajya Sabha on Nov 26, 2014, said: “The National Population Register (NPR) is a register of all usula residents which include citizens and non-citizens as well. The NPR is the first step towards creation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by verifying the citizenship status of every usual residents.”
According to a ministry of home affairs notification on Citizenship Rules of 2003, “The local Register of Indian citizens shall contain details of persons after due verification made from the Population Register.”
The government also told several times that NPR is one of the steps pertaining to conducting a nationwide NRC.
The MHA notification on Citizenship Rules said: “The Central Government may, by an order issued in this regard, decide a date by which the Population Register shall be prepared by collecting information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of Local Registrar.”
The annual report of the ministry of home affairs for the financial year 2018-19 also suggests that NRC can be conducted on the basis of NPR data, says a media report.
In a written statement, then MoS for home, Rijiju also said: “The demographic data for NPR has already been collected for the entire country in 2010 and also digitized thereby creating an electronic database of 118 crore persons. The government has now decided to create the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) based on the information collected under the scheme of NPR by verifying the citizenship status of all individuals in the country.”
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