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How is the National Population Register compiled? How is it related to citizenship and the decennial census? Elucidate on the pros and cons of such an interaction between the three.

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1. How is the National Population Register compiled? How is it related to citizenship and the decennial census? Elucidate on the pros and cons of such an interaction between the three.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

As protests spread all across the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the proposed National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), West Bengal and Kerala suspended work related to the preparation and update of the National Population Register in their respective States.  Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Bring out the interaction of the three things – the National Population Register, citizenship Act and the decennial census.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss the ongoing issue in short.

Body:

Explain what is the National Population Register (NPR) – The NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.

 It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years. The last census was in 2011, and the next will be done in 2021.

Discuss the legal basis for the above.

Debate on the link between the NPR and Aadhaar.

Explain What is the relationship between the NPR and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Conclusion:

Conclude that There is no direct link. But remarks by the Home Minister that the CAA would be followed by the NRC has given rise to fears that when people are excluded from the final citizenship register, the CAA may help non-Muslims take the CAA route to apply for citizenship, and leave Muslims with no option. However, the government seeks to allay these fears.