Making it clear that the government won’t knock off contentious questions from its National Population Register (NPR) form for 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs has told a Parliamentary standing committee that filling out date and birthplace of parents – a controversial issue in the NPR debate – is necessary for back-end data processing, Indian Express reported.
The ministry also said that the questions were not new and have already been collected during the NPR exercise of 2010.
The NPR 2020 form requires an applicant to fill out the date and place of birth of his/her parents. The submission has been objected by several political parties including NDA allies like JD(U) and Lok Janshakti Party.
The NPR enrolment is slated to be carried out simultaneously with the house-listing process of Census 2020 beginning April 1.
Fear on NPR progress
The parliamentary standing committee headed by MP Anand Sharma, submitted its report on Demands for Grants (2020-2021) in Rajya Sabha on Thursday (March 5).
The report specified the answers of the ministry on the NPR exercise.
“For parents living elsewhere or expired at the time of enumeration, only the names of parents were collected. To facilitate back-end data processing and making the data items of date and place of birth complete for all households, details of parents are being collected in a more comprehensive manner in NPR 2020,” the report said.
Observing that the Centre is yet to arrive at a consensus on the NPR process, especially when states are passing resolution against NPR, Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens, the committee said the delay may affect the census enumeration too.
The report also said that there is a possibility that the entire NPR process may be “stymied” in many states.
In view of the fear, the committee urged the Centre to take necessary steps to convince states and Union territories to build consensus on the enumeration process.
“The Committee…on 18th February observed that there is a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among people regarding the upcoming NPR and Census. The Committee feels these apprehensions should have been duly ventilated in the media. The MHA must consider some way out so that the Census goes smoothly,” Indian Express quoted the report as saying.
Can Aadhaar help?
The committee, however, has urged the government to consider using Aadhaar database for NPR updation as the former is connected to several documents of an individual including ration card, PAN and as well as name and address details, which it believes is sufficient for an NPR enrolment.
Replying to the committee’s question on the possibility of using Aadhaar database for updating NPR without undergoing fresh NPR exercise, the ministry had earlier stated that the process is not possible as Aadhaar was individual data whereas NPR contains family-wise data.
“It will not be possible without visiting each and every household to construct family based data from Aadhaar database. Various welfare schemes of state and central governments are generally family based for which NPR data may be used,” the ministry had told the committee, as per the report.