Seeking to allay apprehensions about the updation of National Population Register (NPR), Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that there was no link between the National Population Register exercise and the National Register of Citizens and that the process of NPR cannot be used for NRC.
In an exclusive interview with ANI Editor Smita Prakash, Shah said that the information obtained through NPR cannot be used for NRC. He said the Union Cabinet has not ever discussed NRC.
Shah’s remarks came on a day when the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for conducting Census of India 2021 and updating of NPR.
With West Bengal and Kerala having decided to put a stop to NPR exercise, Shah said there should not be politics over the same as it is aimed at benefitting citizens and for improving the planning of welfare schemes.
“I will talk and appeal to them that no politics should be done on this,” Shah said.
The minister said that while census was held every 10 years, NPR was started by the UPA government and the present government was carrying it forward as it was a “good exercise”.
“There is a basic difference between the two. Names of all those who live in the country are registered in the population register on the basis of which schemes are made. In NRC, proof is sought from every person and asked on what basis you are the citizen of the country. There is no link between the two processes,” he said.
“The process for NPR, cannot be used for NRC. The process (of NPR) was not started by the BJP-led government. In 2004, the UPA government made a law under which the process started and it was carried out during the 2010-11 census. The census is happening again and the government has decided to do it again. No data of NPR can be used for NRC as these are different processes. In NRC, documents are sought from people about citizenship and the process has happened in Assam,” he added.
In the NPR exercise, a person residing in the country will furnish information through a mobile app and no documents will be sought.
He said some questions in the survey were new and if people have Aadhar, there was no harm in sharing the information. The minister said the question of how long a person has resided in a place, was there in the previous form also.
“There is absolutely no link between NRC and NPR, nor will data of NPR be used for NRC. The NPR and census are done under different Acts but the process is simultaneous. There is no scope of apprehension, especially among the minority community and brothers and sisters of minority community that the NPR will be used for NRC,” he said.
Shah also said there was no scope of apprehension that NPR can take away a person’s citizenship.
The minister said protests against CAA had subsided as people had understood its purpose and accused some Opposition parties of trying to stoke fears over NPR for their politics.
Asked about the timing of the NPR exercise, he said the government was already late as mapping of houses has to begin in April next and staff has to be trained in States.