NPR- Will It Cause A Havoc In The Future?
13 Feb 2020
The union government has approved Rs 3941 Cr for conducting NPR along with a separate Rs 8754 Cr for census 2021. NPR is not a new exercise, it has also taken place in 2010 and 2015, but there’s a fear this time.
NPR is a register of population, a register of people living at a specific place for a period of a minimum 6 months. It doesn’t matter if the person is a citizen or not. But the NRC is a register of citizens only.
People are confused if this data is going to be used for the nationwide NRC about which many ministers of the union government have said previously on various occasions. HM Amit Shah has said that the govt. is going to conduct a nationwide NRC before 2024.
But after the nation witnessed protest against CAA-NRC in many cities, the govt kind of backstepped a little and started saying that there is no discussion on NRC till now from the time they attained power in the union.
But this has created fear among the people. The website of the census of India still shows that the NPR could be used for nationwide NRC.Due to this fear, the chances of error increases because then people will give wrong information.
Privacy Is Also An Issue
It is not clear which documents are going to be used in NPR.
The govt didn’t successfully take people in confidence about the data privacy bill.
If the Aadhar data is going to be linked with the NPR then it would be a breach of right as the supreme court has also upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right. This data could be misused by some anonymous user against the person. Or it could also be used for commercial purposes by companies. Govt should come with proper facts that this is not going to be misused.
There’s A Space For Error Also
The government said that the exercise is going to be conducted by a mobile application and will reduce the burden of physically maintaining the data. That’s a step in a good direction, but it also raises some concerns The possibility of rechecking the data will decrease.The government said that people can go online and check their status but the government didn’t realize the lack of computer literacy that’s prevailing in our country. Considering the previous data, their’s a difference of 2.3% between the no. of people in NPR and census of 2011.
The decreased possibility of rechecking the data digitally could lead this no. to further grow more as there is a great possibility that a digit could be misplaced or entered wrongly while entering a 12 digit Aadhar no.This could be disastrous.
Experiences From The Past
During the 2015 NPR, officials ask if their household has a toilet, many people said that they don't have a toilet in the hope that they will receive Rs 14000 for building a toilet.
In the 1981 census data, people didn't tell their true no. of children because there was a fear that this would be going to relate with the population control measures taken by Sanjay Gandhi during the emergency. There’s the same fear present this time that this data is also going to be used for NRC in the future. It increases the chances of wrong data being collected and then there would be no use of conducting this huge exercise.
What Government Should Do
It's important to update the census data to know the demographic dividend of the country as it helps the government to form policies for the welfare of people keeping in mind that more than 40% population still survives below the poverty line.
But there’s a sense of fear among the public. The government should come unanimously on the NPR and take the nation in confidence that this data will not be used for NRC.
Insecurity increases when some small leaders come and say that the time has come to identify some specific people and remove them from this country. This fear should be finished.