Registers as priority

first_imgFor the past year, NRC has made headlines with people in distress over the exclusion of names from the list amidst other worries. NRC is scheduled to be published on August 31 after breaching through past deadlines to prepare what the Centre believes will be the final list of residents in Assam. NRC was a cumbersome exercise and apprehensions regarding its pan-Indian implementation exist since the ruling BJP had promised during election campaigning of a nation-wide NRC. And, abiding by its promises, the first step to that extent will be initiated by the government of India when it starts the next round of recording biometric information of Indian citizens under the National Population Register (NPR). Though NPR is different from NRC, NPR will facilitate the preparation of National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). NRP’s deadline is September 2020 and it is scheduled to begin from April 1, 2020. The NPR database would contain demographic and biometric particulars and act as a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. From the nomenclature, NPR sounds much like the population Census but it is very different from the decennial Census in work. NPR was conducted earlier in two phases in 2010 and 2015 but its rollout was marred by Aadhaar. Under the norms of the NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for six months or ore or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more. The definition is somewhat precise for the sole reason that not every individual will fall in that particular description primarily due to the six-month clause. NPR data, therefore, may not turn out to be the true host of precise information regarding the individual. The government has made it mandatory for every resident of the country to register in NPR and the task of ensuring that besides registration itself would be gigantic given India’s staggering population. As per the current government’s priorities, made clear by President Ram Nath Kovind last month, the NPR was an inevitable step. And, as inevitable as NPR seems, NRIC would follow suit soon after. While a comprehensive database is desirable from a country’s governance perspective, NRC’s lacklustre proceedings that came to surface over the year do not allay any apprehensions for the majority of residents when it comes to NPR or NRIC. Yet, considering NRC as very different from NPR solely on the factor that NRC is being developed in a place plagued with infiltrators, the chances of latter being completed on time and in a safe and sound manner are automatically more. With the deadline drawn for the completion of NPR, the current government’s resolute to script the nation’s demographic in a single resgiter along with their biometric data looks strong. There are, of course, several advantages of having a consolidated register of residents as it helps in creating as well as implementing whatever number and quality of schemes that the government needs to come up with. NPR would turn out to be a highly valuable document for various purposes in the larger interest of effective governance. It is only the modalities that garner apprehensions not the intent and not the use. Policy-wise, this NPR will give detailed data categorically since it will be charted at the village, sub-district, district, state and national level under the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2003. Can the government better-govern the country through this register or is it just a mere exercise to keep record of country’s sprawling demographic?last_img