Government tries to dodge questions about NRIC, says no decision yet

Says it will use social and traditional media to dispel fears about Census and NPR


“It has been clarified at various levels in Government time and again that till now no decision has been taken to create National Register of Indian citizen,” said the government in response to recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) with respect to apprehensions surrounding the upcoming census, and the possibility of data collected for the National Population Register (NPR) being used instead to create a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) along the lines of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

The government further submitted, “All individual-level information collected in Census are confidential. In Census, only aggregated data are released at various administrative levels. Like the earlier Censuses, wide publicity measures would be taken up for creating proper awareness among public so as to conduct and complete the Census 2021 successfully. Questionnaires for Census along with that of NPR have been tested at Pre-test conducted successfully across the country,” reported The Indian Express. 

The Committee headed by Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Anand Sharma, had in February 2020 raised these concerns even as demonstrations against CAA-NRC-NPR across the country. The Action Taken report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The protests came to an abrupt end due to the pandemic and the lockdown last year, but the concerns remained, especially with respect to information that will be gathered during the Census. In fact, it was discovered in August 2020, that some controversial questions such as those related to date and place of birth of parents, and mother tongue, were removed, purportedly in wake of widespread apprehensions.

SabrangIndia had previously reported on how NPR in the new format was trying to gather more personal data than the 2010 version. We had reported on how special notes had been made about nationality and mother tongue in the instruction manual. There is a special note in the “nationality” section which reads “Nationality recorded is as declared by the respondent. This does not confer any right to Indian Citizenship”. There is also a special note under the “mother tongue” section, that says, “If you have reasons to suspect that in any area due to any organised movement, the mother tongue is not being truthfully returned, you should record the mother tongue as actually returned by the respondent and make a report to your supervisory officers for verification.”

Meanwhile, the government appears disinclined to use Aadhaar data in the upcoming Census. It has submitted, “Aadhaar number has been developed as a separate database which is being used only for de-duplication purpose and authentication of beneficiaries of various Government schemes.”


Controversial questions removed from NPR?
NPR 2020: What does it want to know?



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