NEW DELHI: A parliamentary standing committee has recommended that all states and Union Territories be “fully convinced” on issues pertaining to update of the National Population Register (NPR) and a national consensus be evolved to rule out lack of clarity or apprehension among people. This, it was underlined, would facilitate smooth conduct of NPR and Census exercises to be undertaken simultaneously.
As per a report of the department-related standing committee on home affairs tabled in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the Registrar General of India (RGI) informed the panel that state governments which were now raising concerns over NPR have already re-notified the intention to update the register. In fact, a pilot Census/NPR project was conducted in September last year in all states with participation of over 30 lakh people.
The panel, chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma (Congress), had on February 18 told the home ministry that there was a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among the people regarding NPR and Census. This came amid Kerala’s refusal to conduct the NPR exercise, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh putting the NPR process on ‘hold’, as well as Congress-governed states and even some NDA ones like Bihar objecting to new queries added to the NPR form, such as date and place of parents’ birth etc.
“The committee also feels that these apprehensions should have been duly ventilated in the media. The MHA must consider some way out so that the Census goes (on) smoothly. Otherwise, there is quite a chance of the entire process being stymied in many states,” the panel warned.
During its proceedings, the panel asked about the possibility of updating NPR using the Aadhaar database, without undertaking a fresh exercise. The home ministry responded that the NPR, created in 2010 and updated in 2015, needed further update to incorporate changes due to births, deaths and migration.
“Since NPR is being updated and not created afresh, neither Aadhaar database could serve the purpose not there arises any question of duplication. Besides, Aadhaar is individual data, NPR contains family-based data. It will not be possible without visiting each and every household to construct family-based data from Aadhaar database,” the ministry said, adding that various central and state welfare schemes were family-based.
The panel disagreed that Aadhaar was an individual’s data and insisted that Aadhaar metadata included the family’s surname and address. Accordingly, it suggested that the home ministry explore the feasibility of using Aadhaar metadata for the Census and NPR exercise.
The ministry justified the collection of identity data like voter ID, driving licence and passport number for NPR along with Aadhaar by saying, “With Aadhaar as the unique identifier, it may be possible to clean all the databases by de-duplication and make them more credible.” It added that integrating Aadhaar and mobile number with NPR would enable online NPR update by people in the future.
When the panel asked if there was any consultation with states on the new parameters in NPR 2020, the ministry said date and place of parents’ birth were collected in 2010 for parents enumerated within the household. For parents living elsewhere or dead, only their names were collected. “To facilitate backend data processing and make the data of items of date and place of birth complete for all household, the details of parents are being collected in a more comprehensive manner in NPR 2020,” the ministry said.
Courtesy Times of india