The government has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) by September 2020 to lay the foundation for rolling out a citizens' register across the country.
The NPR will be a list of usual residents of the country. Once the NPR is completed and published, it is expected to be the basis for preparing the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), a pan-India version of Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC), an official said.
For the purpose of NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
"In pursuance of sub-rule(4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the central government hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register...
"... And the field work for house-to-house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of local registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020," said a notification issued by Vivek Joshi, Registrar General of Citizen Registration and Census Commissioner.
The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country. 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.
It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
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 move came over a month after President Ram Nath Kovind had unveiled the Modi government's priorities ahead.
"My government has decided to implement the process of National Register of Citizens on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration," Kovind said in his customary address on June 20 after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha.
The reason for excluding Assam is because of the ongoing exercise of NRC in the state.
When the draft NRC was published in Assam on July 30 last year, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it.
The draft included the names of 2.9 crore people of the 3.29 crore applicants. In addition to those excluded, the names of over a lakh people were left out in a list published last month. The final list of the NRC in Assam will be published on August 31.