Context: Amidst the growing concern due to COVID-19 pandemic the government looks all set to postpone the house-listing Census and updating of the National Population Register (NPR), which was scheduled to kick off in certain States on April 1.
More about the news:
- The decision to postpone these exercises is in line with Health Ministry guidelines of limiting mass contact on account of the coronavirus.
- The Government of Odisha and Delhi has also written to the centre asking that the Census-NPR operations may be deferred by at least one month.
- Amidst the growing threat of pandemic the President who was supposed to be the first Indian to be enumerated in the census and NPR exercise is also not meeting members of the public.
- Concerns have also been raised as the field functionaries which need to go house-to-house to collect details for the Census-NPR, may exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.
About National Population Register (NPR)
- First created in 2010, NPR is a database of usual residents in the country who have stayed in a local area for the past six months or more and who intend to remain in the same place for the next six months or more.
- NPR is individual and identity specific unlike the Census which only provides information on the status of the residents of India and population swings.
- The electronic database of more than 119 crore usual residents of the country has already been created under the NPR in English as well as the regional languages.
- The data collection is done under the aegis of the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
- The NPR is undertaken under the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- NPR was last updated (except in Assam and Meghalaya) in 2015-16.
NPR format of 2010
Fifteen identity particulars of the individual members of the household are sought in the 2010 format. These include name, relationship to the head of the household, sex, date of birth, marital status, educational qualification, occupation/activity, etc.
Updated manual of 2020
- The NPR 2020 enumeration exercise is supposed to be undertaken during April–September this year.
- Certain new information will be collected by enumerators in a house-to-house collection exercise such as Aadhaar, mobile, voter ID, passport and driving licence, if available with the residents on a voluntary basis.
- Unlike in the 2010 NPR, the new format for NPR 2020 requires residents to disclose their mother tongue and the places and dates of birth of their parents even if they are not living in the same household at the time or not alive.
- Individuals have to disclose the districts and States of their parents’ birth.
- NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
- A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.
- The details found in the census about individuals are far more comprehensive and inclusive.
- Population Census is the total process of collecting, compiling, analyzing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specific time, of all persons in a country or a well-defined part of a country.
- Data for the NPR was first collected in 2010, and updated in 2015.
- The next phase of NPR will also be updated between April to September 2020 ahead of the Census slated for 2021.
- The last census was in 2011, and the next will be done in 2021 (and will be conducted through a mobile phone application)
- The census involves a detailed questionnaire.There were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census.
It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
It would be conducted in two phases:
- House listing and Housing Census - April to September, 2020 and
- Population Enumeration - 9th February to 28th February, 2021.
The NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955
The Census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990 provide the legal framework for conduct of Census.
The Registrar General of India shall act as the “National Registration Authority” (and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration).
The Registrar General is also the country’s Census Commissioner.