Explained: NPR and the need for a comprehensive national population database
The need of the hour is to have a sound population database, within the framework of the Indian Constitution, which can be used for various purposes including national security.
The Government has been conducting many statistical exercises in the country to collect different data-sets relating to population. One such operation is the conduct of decennial Population Census, the last one was conducted in the year 2011. Presently, there is much talk about the National Population Register (NPR) which is a Register of usual residents of the country and is prepared at the 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. Registration is mandatory for every usual resident of India who has resided in an 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. The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. Like in the population census, the NPR database contains particulars like name, relationship to head of household, father’s name, mother’s name, spouse’s name, 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, educational qualification etc. More items can be added or deleted in the Register depending upon the need. Last time, the data for National Population Register was collected in the year 2010 along with the house listing phase of Population Census 2011. The updation of this data was done in the year 2015 by conducting door to door survey. Now it has been decided to update the National Population Register along with the House listing phase of Census 2021 during April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam.