During the monsoon session in parliament on Tuesday, Union Home Ministry informed the parliament that the Central Government has not taken a decision to prepare the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC).
The development is significant because the NRC issue has been one of the top poll agendas of BJP. Even Amit Shah, Union Home Minister had promised to implement nationwide NRC before the next general election in 2024.
In the parliament, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had written a query asking whether the information which is obtained from the 2021 census will be used in the preparation of other databases like NRC. The Union Home Ministry denied using individual’s data for the preparation of any other database. Union Minister of State (MoS) Nityanand Rai said that the provisions contained in the Census Act, 1948 debar Individual data to be made public.
Nityanand Rai said the government will update the National Population Register (NPR) under the Citizenship Act, 1955. Rai added that due to the coronavirus pandemic the data collection for NPR has been delayed.
When the census process starts, data on various demographic and socio-economic parameters are to be taken into account. Data is collected on Education, religion, language, fertility, Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes, occupation, disability, and others factors.
The upcoming 2021 census will be the first digital Census. There are provisions for Self-enumeration. The Minister said that Mobile App will be used for the collection of data. A Census Portal has been developed for the management and monitoring of various Census-related activities. The questionnaire is designed scientifically with special emphasis on questions.
He added that the questionnaire for the first phase of the Census was notified in the Gazette of India. But, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Census 2021 and other related activities have been postponed. In October 2019, after the General Lol Sabha election in 2018 Union Home minister Amit Shah during a rally in Kolkata had promised to implement NRC in the state.