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By Vijaita Singh / The Hindu

There is a need to update the National Population Register (NPR) again to incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration for which demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be collected, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said in its 2021-22 annual report published on November 7, 2022.

The NPR, first prepared in 2010 and updated in 2015 by collecting information of all usual residents of the country has been opposed by many Opposition-ruled States as the register, according to Citizenship Rules 2003 is the first step towards compilation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC). The Union government has clarified on multiple occasions that there was no proposal to compile the NRC as of now.

The report said that the NPR is prepared under various provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2003, framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955. “In 2015, a few fields such as name, gender, date and place of birth, place of residence and father’s and mother’s name were updated and Aadhaar, mobile and ration card numbers were collected. To incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration, there is a need to update it again,” MHA said. The NPR that has a database of 115 crore residents is to be updated along with the first phase of Census that has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19.

MHA said NPR could be updated through self-enumeration as it is proposed to allow residents to update their own data fields after following some authentication protocols on a web portal.

The report, a compilation of all the achievements and functions of the ministry, however, does not mention the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The legislation passed in 2019 that fast-tracks the citizenship of six non-Muslim undocumented communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014 is yet to be implemented as the rules haven’t been framed yet. MHA’s annual 2020-21 report had said that CAA is a “compassionate and ameliorative legislation” which does not apply to Indian citizens and “therefore, it does not in any way take away or abridge the rights of any Indian citizen.”

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