Amid opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Mamta Banerjee government of West Bengal has stopped the updation of the NPR i.e. National Population Register.
In this regard, the Mamta government has sent instructions to all the district authorities.
This order issued on Monday has been said to be a decision taken in public interest.
Mamta has been continuously saying earlier that she will not allow NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act to be implemented in her state, but was in a state of chaos over NPR.
Opposition parties, except BJP, have been pulling Mamata Banerjee for opposing NRC and supporting NPR.
However, regarding the new decision of Mamta, senior journalist Prabhakar M, who keeps an eye on the politics of West Bengal, says that the CPM has welcomed it.
At the same time, Prabhakar M says that BJP says that the work of NPR was being done under the National Census Act, so Mamta Banerjee’s decision is unconstitutional.
What is the reason for temporary ban on NPR?
Mamta Banerjee is against NRC. Minorities are a big vote bank in Bengal and they are in a decisive position. This vote bank was with the Left for more than three decades. When Mamata came to power in 2011, she also got the support of the minority vote bank along with anti-land acquisition movements and in Bengal they are around 30%.
Senior journalist Prabhakar M says, “When the list of NRC came out in Assam and about 19 lakh people were out there, it also affected Bengal. Mamta has been opposing NRC since then.”
He explains, “The problem of infiltration is more in Bengal than Assam. Its long border is contiguous with Bangladesh. People have been coming here since partition. With the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, a large number of people from there Come here “The ruling party has been settling them here by giving them voter cards, ration cards. These minorities have fear about NRC. And when NPR work started, this fear was further increased and now the citizenship amendment law did the work of ghee in the fire. It seems to this section that they will be sorted and removed from here. That is why Mamta Banerjee has stopped the work of NPR for the moment. “
The ruling Trinamool Congress Party has clarified that in view of the protests and violence taking place in the state, the government has temporarily made the decision so that people do not spread further fear.
On the other hand CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said that the state government is adopting a dual policy. He welcomed the decision but said that on one hand the government has been opposing NRC but on the other hand, why did NPR work at all?
In view of the situation arising out of this decision of the Government of Bengal, let us know what is NPR, NRC and Census and how are they different from each other?
Why is a census conducted?
Actually, people are counted every 10 years to assess the socio-economic status of every citizen of the country and based on this, to determine the government policies regarding development work in a particular area.
In this, data related to the number of people living in the village, city as well as their employment, standard of living, economic status, educational status, age, sex, occupation etc. are collected. These figures are used by the central and state governments to formulate policies.
The responsibility of conducting the census is with the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, who comes under the Union Home Ministry.
The Census Act was passed in 1948 to give it statutory status.
What questions are asked and why?
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the first census was done in 1872 in the country. From then until 1941, the caste of citizens was asked in it, but after that the caste was removed from it.
By the way, this question has definitely been asked in the census whether you belong to any scheduled caste and what is your caste in it. However, the argument is made in its favor that ‘Scheduled Castes will be given political reservation in proportion to the population, this is a provision in the Constitution. Therefore, there is a constitutional need to know their population.
The first census was conducted in 1951 after independence. After the census to be held every 10 years, a total of 7 times have been conducted so far.
Right now the data of census conducted in 2011 is available and the work of 2021 census is going on.
It takes about three years to prepare it. First, officers are appointed for the census, who go door-to-door, submit personal data and fill the census form by asking questions to the people.
There are questions related to age, gender, educational and economic status, religion, occupation etc. A total of 29 such questions were asked in the 2011 census.
These figures only show what the population is in the country, how many women and how many men are there, what age group they are, which languages they speak, which religion they follow, what is their level of education, how many People are married, how many children were born in the last 10 years, how many people are in employment, how many people have changed their place of living in the last 10 years, etc. According to the rules, the government keeps these private information of the people confidential.
With these figures, the real situation of the citizens of the country reaches the governments and based on this, they formulate their policies.
Now the government has decided to digitize the census. Union Home Minister Amit Shah told on 18 November that this time the mobile app will be used in the census. In this, data will be collected in a digital way. That is, it will start moving from papers to digital format.
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How is NPR different from NRC?
The central government wants to prepare biometric and genealogical data of the citizens of India and the time has been set for September 2020 to release its final list.
This process is not linked in any way to the Census and the National Civil Register (NRC).
NPR, like NRC, is not a citizen count. Foreigners who have been living in any part of the country for 6 months will also be added to it.
The goal of NPR is to prepare the data of the identity of every citizen of the country.
What is NPR?
NPR is a list of common citizens of the country. From 2010, the government started the National Population Register to submit a database of identity of the citizens of the country.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, an ordinary citizen is one who has been a permanent resident in any part of the country for at least 6 months or plans to live in another place for the next 6 months.
According to Home Ministry sources, NPR will be made mandatory for all. In this, calculations are being done at panchayat, district, state or national level.
There are 15 categories in the demographic data which include name to place of birth, educational qualification and occupation etc.
For this, both demographic and biometric data will be collected.
Aadhaar has been included in the biometric data, from which every information related to it will reach the government.
The dispute is also on the matter that due to this the data of Aadhaar will not remain safe
When a comprehensive database was prepared in 2011, information about Aadhaar, mobile number and ration card was collected in it.
But it was updated in 2015 and citizens will now have to provide PAN card, driving license, voter ID and passport information to get their name registered in it.
Under section 14 (a) of the Citizenship Act 1955, it is mandatory to enter a name to become a valid citizen.
Assam will not be included in this because NRC has been implemented there.
What is NRC?
The National Citizenship Register or NRC will know who is a citizen of India and who is not.
In the northeastern state of Assam, there have been many violent movements on the issue of illegal people coming from Bangladesh.
In 1985, the then Rajiv Gandhi government signed an agreement with the Asom Gana Parishad, under which only Bangladeshi who came to Assam before 25 March 1971 will be given citizenship.
But for a long time it was kept in cold storage. Then in 2005 the government started work on it.
After the Supreme Court’s order in 2015, this work gained momentum and NRC was prepared.
That is, NRC has been originally implemented for Assam by the Supreme Court.
NRC was published in August 2019. But due to lack of proper documents with close to 19 lakh people, they were excluded from the published register.
Those who were excluded from this list were given time to prove their citizenship with valid certificates.
However, there was a stir from the road to the Parliament.