The twice in power, ruling party BJP’s cabinet has allotted about ₹8700 crores for census calculation and another ₹3900crore for keeping the National Population Register (NPR) up-to-date. The data collection will pan out from April next year and go on up to September that year. The NPR data was originally collected in 2010, followed by 2015. Along with the 2021 census, similar exercise for calculating NPR will get done.
NPR is a cumulative list of all the residents living in their respective localities presently, six months prior and after the date of information collection. Starting from the local level to the national one, NPR will get prepared in villages/sub-towns, districts, and states. NPR comes under the Citizenship Act, 1955. Under the citizenship rules, 2003, all the “usual residents” of India are to register to the NPR.
As a practice for maintaining a collective identification directory, the bio-statistics along with demographic variables. Important details such as the name of the individual, relationship with the household head, names of the individual’s parents and spouse, gender, place, and date of birth, occupation and professional or educational qualifications, usual address of residence, stay duration, and address for permanent residence, if at all. This register is also helpful to identify the recipients of subsidies.
Although, while granting budget for the same, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said “We believe that whatever you say would be true. There is no need for providing any sort of documents.” But since this is being released amidst the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the citizens seem to be skeptical and terrified of the government’s intention behind this move.
Many consider that this is one way of confusing the citizens for compiling their personal information, through the obligatory census collection survey. While many don’t understand the need for this at the present moment, many others argue that data collection for census and NPR allegedly fall under different Citizenship Acts, and hence can’t be clumped together. The protests have been enraging more with passing time, and the government has yet again thrown shade over the fear building up in people by excluding Assam. If NPR and NRC were for varied reasons, can we afford to trust this outlook?