Govt unlikely to hit delete on six NPR questions that triggered a storm
The government is unlikely to delete the six additional questions that require people to report the place of birth of their parents during the National Population Register survey later this year, people familiar with the development said.
A controversy broke out over the additional questions included in the pretest exercise for the NPR amid the ongoing row over changes to the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.
The Congress, which had launched the population register in 2010, is leading the opposition to the project on grounds that the NPR form cleared by the Home Ministry was canvassing more information than the one drafted by the previous UPA-2 government a decade earlier.
The six new parameters in the new NPR form that poses 21 questions includes Aadhaar number of the resident, Voter ID, PAN, driving licence number and mobile phone and date and place of birth of parents and the last place of residence.
In the last NPR exercise in 2010, there were only 15 questions. A few more including the Aadhaar number were added to the list of questions when the database was updated in 2015.
The government has not spelt out why the additional parameter are sought to be added to the database that is located in the Union Home Ministry without any oversight or statutory rules to protect the privacy of the people.
It has, however, being speculated that most of the additional questions would let government bodies cross-refer this database with others.
The question on the place of birth of the parents, on the other hand, would help the government get a clearer picture of the challenges ahead when it upgrades the database into a citizenship register.
“As of now it seems that data will be collected on all 21 parameters in the new NPR form. The form was prepared after discussions only. But a decision on the final form will be taken soon,” said an official.
Officially, the government has sought to delink the population register from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
But it may be a little difficult. The government gets the power to build and update the population register from the Citizenship Act and the rules and regulations notified under this law.