A document compiled by a committee under the Registrar General of India and shared with District Census officers shows that the Union government has retained contentious questions such as "mother tongue, place of birth of father and mother and last place of residence", in the latest form of the National Population Register (NPR), reports The Hindu.
The schedule or the form generated through an online system on August 18, is part of a handbook, Census of India 2021 Handbook for Principal/District Census Officers and Charge Officers that have been shared with all States, says the report
According to the report, the form will collect details on 14 parameters of all family members. The sub-heads include passport number, relationship to head of the family, whether divorced/widowed or separated, mother tongue, if non-worker, cultivator, labourer, government employee, daily wage earner among others. The form also has a column on Aadhar, mobile phone, Voter ID and driving license number, which is to be provided if available with the respondent.
The NPR already has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents. Along with Census, NPR will also be updated digitally for the first time. A mobile application for enumerators has been developed where the existing database will be uploaded. Respondents can also self enumerate
The Home Ministry said earlier that data collected under NPR are shared with States and used by the Union government for various welfare schemes at the individual level.
NPR which is the first step towards the compilation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) or NRC was first compiled in 2010 and updated in 2015. The controversial questions were part of a trial exercise involving 30 lakh respondents in September 2019.
The compilation of NPR data has been opposed by some States and citizen groups due to its link with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the yet to be implemented Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The updation of NPR and the first phase of the Census — the House listing & Housing Census were to be conducted simultaneously from April-September 2020 but the exercise was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New dates have not been announced yet..
The CAA passed by the Parliament on December 11, 2019, allows citizenship on basis of religion to six undocumented communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. There are apprehensions and fears that the CAA followed by a country-wide NRC will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens' register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship. The government has denied that CAA and NRC are linked and that there are currently no plans to compile a countrywide NRC.