As the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the updating of the National Population Register (NPR), a campaign to discredit the process by indulging in fear-mongering and half-truths have already been started by opposition parties and its ecosystem. Home Minister Amit Shah had specified that the NPR has nothing to do with the NRC (National Register for Citizens) which is not even drafted yet.
However, Congress took to the social media in a bid to mock Home Minister and show that he ‘lied’. In a post, Congress shared a screenshot of the annual report of the home ministry which mentioned that the NPR is just one step short of NRC.
Once again the BJP govt is caught in a trap of their own making.
2018-19 Annual Report of the Union Home Ministry clearly states NPR is first step to NRC.
Also in 2014 former MoS Home Ministry Kiren Rijiju replied to a question in RS stating the same.
Who’s lying now? pic.twitter.com/ljpMIsZz5H
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 24, 2019
Despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah reiterating that there are no links between the NPR and NRC, the Congress party indulged in peddling half-truths on social media. The party questioned the BJP by stating a 2018-19 Annual Report of the Union Home Ministry, which stated ‘NPR was the first step to NRC’.
In a hurry to discredit the NDA government, the Congress party faced an embarrassment after it was exposed that it was the Congress party that had introduced the NPR and linked it to the process of NRIC and not the present BJP government. According to FAQs published during 2011 census, the Congress party had itself announced in 2011 that the NPR was the first step towards the preparation of NRIC.
Further, the National Population Register (NPR), an idea is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country was first mooted by the Congress party in 2009 by the Congress party itself during Manmohan Singh government.
Similar misinformation was spread by the usual suspects.
NPR=NRC. How much more will the Modi government lie and mislead the people? It was stated clearly on the record in the Rajya Sabha by this government, that the National Population Register is the base document from where the NRC work will start. (Page 2 below, last paragraph) pic.twitter.com/FvvuTkMwBv
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) December 24, 2019
AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi even accused the Home Minister of trying to mislead the country.
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM: Why is Home Minister misleading the nation? In Parliament he said ‘Owaisi ji NRC will be implemented in the whole country’. Amit Shah sahab, as long as the sun keeps rising from the east we will keep telling the truth. NPR is the first step towards NRC. https://t.co/toAQU3yjV3 pic.twitter.com/8vgAqne8Ce
— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2019
Congress leaders also seem to be suffering from some sort of amnesia.
Modi Ji-“There is no discussion on NRC”
Today, I&B Minister-“There is no link between NPR & NRC-
Modi Cabinet grants 8500 crores for NPR!
But-Look at 2018-19 Annual Report of the Union Home Ministry
Pg262-“..NPR is first step towards creation of NRIC”
SHAME-PM shouldn’t lie! pic.twitter.com/kqRzpIzbuu
— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) December 24, 2019
And how can any criticism about the current government be complete without the Nazi analogy.
NPR is the first step towards NRC. Don’t let the Nazi Twins confuse you. They lie through the teeth.
— Savukku_Shankar (@savukku) December 24, 2019
It is pertinent to note that it was the idea of the then UPA government to use the data collected in the process of NPR to implement a nation-wide NRC.
Interestingly, the then President Pratibha Patil had backed the NPR proposal and was the first citizen to enrol in the population register. She had even urged every citizen to register with the NPR, a flagship initiative of the UPA government.
In 2009, the scam-accused Chidambaram, who was the then Home Minister had also spoken high of the NPR initiative. In fact, the whole idea of NPR actually was put in motion by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram in 2009.
Speaking at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2010, Chidambaram had said that “for the first time in human history an exercise of this kind of beginning to identify, count, enumerate, record and eventually issue an ID card to 120 crore people” was being undertaken. He was heard saying that NPR was “an exercise of this kind has not been attempted anywhere else in the world.”
National Population Register(NPR)
Then & Now pic.twitter.com/X4EK9RWa8M
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) December 24, 2019
It is rather interesting to see why the Congress party has now decided to discredit the idea of the National Population Registry, which was once a brainchild of the UPA government in 2010.
What is the National Population Registry?
The National Population Register (NPR) is a register of the ‘usual’ residents of the country. A usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
The database under the NPR will be maintained by the Registrar General of India and Census Commissioner of India, Ministry of Home Affairs. The NPR is prepared at the local, 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.
Most importantly, the NPR will be mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR. The exercise will be carried out during the house-listing phase of Census 2021, during April to September 2020, in all the states and union territories, except Assam, where a National Register of Citizens was recently released.