The government has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) by September 2020 to lay the foundation for a citizens' register across the country.
The NPR will be a list of the usual residents of the country. For the purpose of the list, a usual resident is defined as a person who has lived in one place for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
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.
"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. The field work 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 will be 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.
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.