The respondent has to provide the information true to the best of his knowledge and belief.
New Delhi: The Centre has clarified that no documents would be collected while updating the National Population Register (NPR), and also that disclosing the Aadhaar number will also be voluntary. The government further said it was discussing issues that were of concern with various states on finalisation of the NPR, that will collect details like demographic and other data of every family and individual.
Minister of state for home Nityananad Rai, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, also said that “till now the government has not taken any decision to prepare the National Register of Indian Citizens at the national level”.
The clarification comes after a political controversy over the preparation of the NPR and the data as well as other information being collected in the exercise. Protests have erujpted in different parts of the country over the issue and the possibility of linking the NPR with the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The minister also told Parliament that the manual for updating NPR 2020 for enumerators and supervisors has been prepared and that people will have to provide information for the NPR to the best of their knowledge and belief. He also said in the written reply that no documents would be collected during the updation of the NPR and that no verification will be done to trace individuals whose citizenship is doubtful.
“The NPR updation will be undertaken through house-to-house enumeration for collection of specified particulars relating to each family and individual. The respondent has to provide the information true to the best of his knowledge and belief. The Aadhaar number is to be collected voluntarily,” he said.
The minister clarified that the population register was a document which primarily has details of persons usually residing in a village, rural area, town, ward or a demarcated area within a ward in a town or urban area.
“The NPR was first prepared in 2010 and updated in 2015. In pursuance of sub-rule (4) of Rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, framed under the
Citizenship Act 1955, the Central government decided to prepare and update the population register during April-September 2020 throughout the country, except Assam, for collection of information relating to all persons usually residing in a village or town,” he said.
Earlier, on December 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at a rally in New Delhi that neither the Union Cabinet nor Parliament had so far discussed the issue of the NRC and some political parties were trying to create a controversy over the issue.
The chief ministers of states like West Bengal and Kerala have opposed the NPR on the grounds that it would lead eventually to the NRC. Earlier, at a meeting of nearly 20 Opposition parties chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it was decided to request all chief ministers who were opposed to the NRC to consider suspension of the NPR in their states, calling it a prelude to the NRC.