Nirbhaya case: Voluntary NPR info needed for backend processing: MHA


New Delhi: Union home ministry tried to explain the rationale behind collecting additional data on a voluntary basis for the National Population Register (NPR) before a parliamentary panel, saying it will “facilitate backend data processing and make data items of date and place of birth complete for all households”.

The panel headed by Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma, however, asked the government to forge a national consensus on NPR and census set to be carried out from the next month so that “there is absolute clarity and no apprehension in anyone’s mind”.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs also said it would like the home ministry to explore the feasibility of using the Aadhaar metadata for census and NPR.

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“The committee recommends that all states and Union territories should be fully convinced on various issues pertaining to NPR, which commences in April, to have a national consensus so that there is absolute clarity and no apprehension among people across the country, which will help in conducting these exercises in a smooth manner,” the panel said in its report submitted to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The house-listing phase of census and the exercise to update NPR will be carried out from April 1 to September

30. The committee observed that there was a lot of dissatisfaction and fear among people regarding the upcoming NPR and census.

During its deliberations with MHA officials, the committee sought to know about the new parameters or new questions that have been put in the upcoming NPR and whether the states have been consulted or not and whether any effort has been made to build a national consensus as regards the changed parameters.

The ministry submitted that during the process to update the NPR 2020, it was proposed to collect data on some additional aspects such as place of last residence, mother tongue, Aadhaar number (voluntary), mobile number, passport number (for an Indian passport holder), voter identity card number, driving licence number, date and place of birth of father and mother.

Besides, the data on date and place of birth of parents was collected in the NPR 2010 as well for all parents who were enumerated within the household, the ministry said, adding that for the parents living elsewhere or expired at the time of enumeration, only the names were collected.

The panel said that it was not quite convinced with the ministry’s reply that Aadhaar was an individual data and NPR exercise was undertaken to create a family database. The committee is of the opinion that Aadhaar is not just an individual’s data but also tied up with ration card, PAN etc.

“The Aadhaar metadata also includes the entire family’s surname, address etc. Therefore, the committee fails to understand as to why this should be treated as individual data only,” it said.

The panel observed that a huge amount was already spent on data collection under Aadhaar but in the budget estimate 2020-21, Rs 4,568 crore was allocated for Census 2021. The committee is of the view that Aadhaar data should be used in the census to reduce duplication of work and wastage of expenditure.

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