Similarities, differences between NRC, NPR and its link to CAA

Protesters participate in a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Dibrugarh, on Tuesday. Photo PTI

The National Population Register (NPR) has raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship, especially when the government is suggesting that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would be implemented across the country. Here is an explainer on the similarities and differences between NPR, NRC, and its link to the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

What are the differences between NPR and NRC?

Difference 1

The National Population Register (NPR) is updated every 10 years through national census.


NRC is a permanent record which needs no period revision.

Difference 2

No documentary proof is needed for NPR.

For inclusion in NRC, one needs to provide the requisite documents to establish citizenship.

Difference 3

NPR is used by the government to formulate various welfare schemes and for planning.

NRC is a proof of individual citizenship. It settles one’s citizenship issue once and for ever.

What is the link between NPR and NRC?

Similarity 1 According to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, notified on December 10, 2003, the Central Government has decided that the Population Register shall be prepared by collecting information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of the local Registrar.

Similarity 2 The local Register of Indian citizens shall contain details of persons after due verification made from the population register.

What is the relationship between the NPR and the CAA?

There is no direct link. But remarks by the Home Minister Amit Shah that the Citizenship Amendment Act would be followed by the NRC have given rise to fears that when people are excluded from the final citizenship register, the CAA may help non-Muslims take the CAA route to apply for citizenship. This leaves Muslims with no option. However, the government seeks to allay these fears.