West Bengal stops National Population Register work

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News:The West Bengal government has stayed all activities relating to the preparation and update of the National Population Register(NPR) due to controversy over Citizenship Amendment Act.

Facts:

About National Population Register(NPR):

  • The National Population Register (NPR) is a Register of usual residents of the country.
  • A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR 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.
  • The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
  • The NPR 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. 
  • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.

Why do we need NPR:

  • Every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with relevant demographic details.It will help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security.
  • It will also ease the life of those residing in India by cutting the red tape.
  • It will also help in implementing the idea of ‘One Identity Card’ that has been recently floated by the government.

Concerns regarding NPR:

  • The information collected during formation of NPR may be misused if safeguards to maintain privacy are inadequate.
  • The NPR has also raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship in the country.
  • Apart from privacy,concerns have also been raised over the exercise as a whole.NPR will be the base for a nationwide National Register of Citizens(NRC).
  • Hence,the NPR could also have such discrepancies as it happened during NRC exercise in Assam.