Amidst several speculations, the National Population Register (NPR) 2020 process is scheduled to be conducted between 1st April and 30th September, this year.
In an important disclosure related to the exercise, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has put out the rules that authorise enumerators to impose a penalty of Rs 1,000 in case any resident refuses to give information for NPR or deliberately gives wrong information.
An MHA official clarified Rule 17 of the Citizenship Rules which states that a penalty of Rs 1,000 can be imposed for wrong information, reported News18. The official further pointed out that the provision has not been used till now in the NPRs of 2011 and 2015.
"Rule 17 of the citizenship rules states that a penalty of Rs 1,000 can be imposed for wrong information," said an MHA official.
Participating at an anti-CAA, NPR and NRC protest in December, author and activist Arundhati Roy had asked people to furnish wrong information if enumerators come to their house.
"When officials visit your home for NPR and ask you your name, give them names like Ranga-Billa, Kungfu-Katta," Roy had said.
Enumerators are the officials who know locals and are familiar with the local people who will get a maximum amount up to Rs 25,000 for the job of data collection.
NPR Pre-test Form
The Union Home Ministry stated that the pre-test form of the NPR has been drafted which is likely to have around 21 questions, however, there is a possibility of last-minute changes to simplify the process for the public.
NPR officials also informed that no respondents had shown any hesitation in voluntarily sharing their information which included Aadhaar, voter ID, driving licence or passport details but the residents from some sections objected to providing the PAN number. A decision to drop the PAN details from the list followed later.
"Because of the objection we have decided to do away with the column on pan card," Business World quoted an official.
The pre-test covered 73 districts and a sample of nearly 30 lakh individuals was collected during the exercise.
Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson tweeted to say that it was not mandatory to provide details of Aadhaar, voter ID, passport and driving licence number.
The tweet read, "As quoted in a news item, "Have Aadhar, Passport? You will have to share details for NPR...Voter id, DL Info also Mandatory", gives a wrong impression that these documents would have to be compulsorily given for NPR exercise. Such a connotation is not correct.@TOIIndiaNews"
As quoted in a news item, "Have Aadhar, Passpot? You will have to share details for NPR...Voter id, DL Info also Mandatory", gives a wrong impression that these documents would have to be compulsorily given for NPR exercise. Such a connotation is not correct.@TOIIndiaNews pic.twitter.com/VgjO8wXYiG— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) January 16, 2020
Registrar General and Census Commissioner
The Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner's website explains NPR as a Register of usual residents of the country. Usual resident can be defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more, making it mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
"It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, 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."
In contrast to the statements made by the MHA, the website has specifically put out that the database would contain "demographic as well as biometric particulars."
Centre's meet on 2020 Census and NPR
The Union Home Ministry is to convene a meeting which will be chaired by the Union Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai and will be attended by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Chief Secretaries and Census Directors of all states, on Friday, to discuss the " modalities for the houselisting phase of the census and the NPR."
The Bengal government, however, has distanced itself from the meeting with a written statement saying that no representative would be a part of the meeting.