All That You Wanted To Know About National Population Register

What is the National Population Register (NPR)?

The National Population Register (NPR) is a Register of usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (Village level), sub District (Tehsil/Taluk level), 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.

What is the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRI C)?

The National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) will be a Register of citizens of the country. It will be prepared at the local (Village level), sub District (Tehsil/Taluk level), District, State and National level after verifying the details in the NPR and establishing the citizenship of each individual. The NRIC, therefore, would be a sub-set of the NPR.

Is it necessary to register for the NPR?

It is compulsory for every citizen of the country to register in a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) as per Section 14A of the Citizenship Act 1955 as amended in 2004. The NPR is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC. Out of the universal dataset of all the usual residents, the subset of citizens would be derived after due verification of the citizenship status. Therefore, it is compulsory for all usual residents to register under the NPR.

Who is a usual resident?

A usual resident of a local area, for the purpose of NPR, is defined as a person who has stayed in the local area for the past 6 months or a person who intends to stay in the local area for the next 6 months.

Will the NPR include people who are not citizens of India?

Yes. The NPR would include citizens as well as non citizens. As long as a person is a usual resident of India, she/he would have to register under the NPR. However, the fact that a person is in the NPR does not confer a right to any person to claim citizenship. They would have to satisfy the various criteria laid down in the Citizenship Act 1955 to qualify for Indian citizenship.

Will Non Resident Indians (NRI) be part of the NPR?

By definition, an NRI is not a usual resident of the country. Therefore, they would not be in the NPR till they are non residents. When they come back to India and take up usual residence within the country, they will be included in the NPR.

What is the connection between NPR and Aadhaar (UID Number)?

The NPR is a register of usual residents. The data collected in NPR after authentication will be sent to UIDAI for de-duplication and issue of Aadhaar Number. Thus the register will contain three elements of data – (i) demographic data, (ii) biometric data and (iii) the Aadhaar (UlD Number).

What is the need to create an NPR?

The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database in the country with full identification and other details by registering every usual resident in the country. This would help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the Government schemes/programmes, improve NPR and prevent identity fraud.

What is background of this scheme?

The genesis of the scheme was in 1986, when a pilot scheme was implemented for issue of identity cards to residents in selected border areas of Rajasthan. In 1993 a legislation – The Specified Areas (Issue of Identity Cards to Residents) Bill was introduced in the Parliament but could not be passed. After the Kargil war, a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to review the National Security system recommended that there should be compulsory registration of citizens and noncitizens living in India, which would facilitate preparation of a national register of citizens. The GoM also recommended that all citizens should be given a Multipurpose National Identity Card (MPNIC) and non-citizens should be issued identity cards of a different colour and design. The recommendation of the GoM was accepted by the Government in 2001. Following this, the Citizenship Act 1955 was amended in 2004 by inserting Section 14A, which allowed the Central Government to inter alia compulsorily register every citizen of India and issue National Identity card and maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The Registrar General, India was designated as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration. Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 were also framed. A pilot project was conducted at several places across the country to test the processes and procedures between 2003 and 2006. The results of the pilot were placed before an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) which recommended the creation of an NPR as the first step towards creating a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). The NPR would be the master data base, of which, the NRIC would be a sub set. Accordingly, the process of creating the NPR has been set in motion.

What are the legal provisions under which the NPR is being created?

The Citizenship Act 1955 was amended in 2004 by inserting Section 14A which provides for the following:

  1. The Central Government may compulsorily register every citizen of India and issue National Identity Card.
  2. The Central Government may maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens and for that purpose establish a National Registration Authority.
  3. On and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, the Registrar General, India, appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 (18 of 1969) shall act as the National Registration Authority and he shall function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration.
  4. The Central Government may appoint such other officers and staff as may be required to assist the Registrar General of Citizen Registration in discharging his functions and responsibilities.
  5. The procedure to be followed in compulsory registration of the citizens of India shall be such as may be prescribed.

Does the Citizenship Act 1955 cover Registration of usual residents or is it restricted to registration of Citizens alone?

The provisions of the Citizenship Act and Citizenship Rules give powers to the Central Government to lay down the procedures. The procedure as laid down envisages the creation of the NPR (a register of usual residents) as the first step towards creation of the NRIC (register of Indian citizens). Thus, the legal provisions of the Act and Rules cover the NPR as much as NRIC.

Will Identity Cards be issued under the NPR?

A proposal to issue Resident Identity Cards to all usual residents in the NPR of 18 years of age and above is under consideration of the Government. This proposed Identity Card would be a smart Card and would bear the Aadhaar number.

How will the NPR database be updated?

A mechanism to continuously update the NPR database is being formulated. It is envisaged that capacity will be created at the level of the sub District to continuously update and maintain the NPR database. Besides catering to birth and deaths, alteration in name, address, etc are also being contemplated under this scheme.

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