National Register of Citizens (NRC)
NRC is a register of all Indian citizens to be created as per 2003 amendment of Indian Citizenship Act 1955. Its purpose is to list all the legal citizens of India so that illegal immigrants can be identified and deported. The final updated NRC for Assam published on 31 August 2019 spotted 19 Lakh persons out of the population of 3.3 Crore as illegal Migrants. It has been implemented in Assam starting 2013-14. GOI plans to implement it for the rest of Country in 2021.
Various Muslim organizations have been protesting against NRC, with the fear that upcoming compilation of NRC would be used by Modi Govt. to deprive Muslims of Indian Citizenship.
On 19 November, 2019, HM Amit Shah declared that NRC would be implemented throughout the country.
The Citizenship Amendment Act 2003 amended Indian Citizenship Act 1955 and made the following provisions:-
(i) Issue of national identity cards
(ii) Preparation of NRC
National Population Register (NPR)
NPR is a list of all the people residing in India and includes both citizens & non-citizen. NPR is a first step towards creation of NRC by verifying the citizenship status of every usual resident. Resident of a locality living there for at least six month with plans to continue their residence for another six months or more are included in the list of NPR. Every usual resident of India is required to register in NPR.
NRC can be created by using the data of NPR. The local officials would decide if the persons name will be added to NRC or not thereby deciding his citizenship status. Indian govt. will use this list to mark people as doubtful citizens after which they would be asked to prove their citizenship.
Various opposition groups especially Muslim groups have been apposing the exercise of NPR. Non BJP ruled states have various objections about NPR. Govt. of Kerala & West Bengal have already put the process on a temporary hold. Rajasthan, Maharashtra among others have objected to the inclusions of some question in process of NPR. e.g. when and where your parents were born, your mother tongue and where were you living in the past. States are suspicious about the intent of centre. The NPR will be plinth for building a National Register of citizens (NRC).
According to union govt. updating the NPR database is necessary for better policy framing, preventing leakages and ensuring those who need help are easier to identify. NPR indeed has been used by states who today are opposing NPR.
NPR database was built in 2010 and updated in 2015.
NPR database was built in Assam in 2019 as per 1985 Assam Accord. 1.9 million were prima facie rendered non citizens or aliens. Those left out however can challenge the decision before a tribunal and then before the court.
The plea of the Union govt. is that answers to all such questions are not mandatory but voluntary and no one is going to force anyone to reply any such question.