Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that there is no link between National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). “There is no link between National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), I am clearly stating this today," said Shah, speaking to news agency ANI over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and NPR.
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to update the National Population Register (NPR) and announced an expenditure of Rs 3,941.35 crore for its updation. According to the Census commission, the objective of the National Population Register will be to create a comprehensive identity database of every resident of the country.
In an interview to ANI, Shah said, "There is no need to debate this (pan-India NRC) as there is no discussion on it right now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right, there is no discussion on it yet either in the Cabinet or Parliament."
Shah asserted that NPR was a continuation of a move started by the former UPA government. "It is a constitutional provision and is the same exercise which was conducted by the Congress-led government earlier. It is neither a part of our manifesto nor our promise. It was a good move started by the Congress which is simply being followed," he said.
Speaking on whether there was a lack of communication from the government on the Citizenship Act, Shah said he has no issue accepting that there must have been some gap in communication. He added that his speech in Parliament was clear and highlighted that the Act doesn't aim to take away the citizenship of minorities.
The Union Minister reiterated, "It is possible that some names are missed in the NPR, still their citizenship will not be revoked because this is not the process of NRC. The NRC is a different process. I want to make it clear that nobody will lose citizenship because of NPR."
He also added, "There is no connection between the detention centre and NRC or CAA. The centre has been there for years and is for illegal migrants. Misinformation is being spread on this."
On Kerala and West Bengal denying the updation of NPR, Shah appealed both Pinarayi Vijayan and Mamata Banerjee to not keep the poor out of the development programmes. "I humbly appeal to both the Chief Ministers again, to not take such a step and please review your decisions. Don't keep the poor out of development programmes just for your politics," said Shah.
Speaking on AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's criticism of the CAA, Shah said that the former always opposes the stand of the government. "If we say that the sun rises from the east then Owaisi ji will say no it rises from the west, he always opposes our stand. Still, I again assure him that CAA has nothing to do with NRC," added Shah.
Addressing a press conference Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced the decision of the government. Javadekar asserted that the NPR will be a self-declaration, and no document or bio-metric will be required for it. Speaking on Census 2021, added Javadekar, "We are implementing the scheme that the UPA had launched in 2010." The NPR was prepared in 2010 under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship Rules, 2003, which was subsequently updated in 2015 by seeding it with Aadhaar.
According to the law, a 'usual resident' for the NPR is a person who has lived in an area for at least six months or more or a person who intends to live in an area for six months or more. It is mandatory for every citizen of the country to register in the NPR.
It is a routine process being conducted to update the NPR, which will further supplement the upcoming Census exercise and also help provide targeted benefits under various welfare programs of the Government. This exercise was previously conducted in 2010 and 2015. The current exercise will further update the data/information available under NPR based on past surveys.