Does India really need an NPR when there is a census?
With states like Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh stopping the necessary bases to carry out the National Population Registry (NPR) survey, scheduled from April 1 to September 30, the controversy over its usefulness in the The creation of a National Registry of Citizens (NRC) has intensified, despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi denied such plans. Which raises the question: given that there will be a next year, does the government really need to spend an additional 3,941 million rupees, in addition to the 8,754 million rupees for the census, to carry out the NPR data collection exercise?
NPR vs Census: NPR collects basic details about a person, such as name, age, occupation, gender, place of birth, parents' names and their place of birth, name of spouse if any, relationship to head of family, nationality, educational qualifications, present and permanent address All these details are also part of the Census exercise, which, with 29 questions, is far more detailed and includes details such as religion, caste, disability and even fertility. The Census is also exhaustive as it will be conducted in two phases - the house enumeration data, which is conducted along with the NPR and the actual headcount, in February 2021.
Are foreigners included? Both the NPR and Census include foreigners staying in India - in NPR 's case, those staying for more than six months while in the case of Census, even those staying for more than 21 days. In fact, the Census can probably take a page from the NPR handbook and include only those foreigners staying for more than six months - that being the maximum time limit for a tourist visa, to eliminate the counting of tourists in the population, which at present the Census does.
Without biometrics : While the first NPR exercise, in 2010, also collected biometric data - a photograph, 10 fingerprints and two iris scans - this year's NPR does away with that requirement, as per the Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, who stated that no documents or biometrics will be collected during the NPR exercise. This means the NPR data collection exercise is very similar to the Census exercise. Moreover, these biometric details have already been collected for Aadhar and as such, are with the government.
Private eyes : Data collected for census is confidential and even the government, its agencies and the courts don't have access to it. On the other hand, data collected under the NPR exercise is publicly available since it's published locally to enable the public to verify the information and ask for corrections, if any. However, if only information pertinent for the NPR were to be disclosed publicly, that may not violate the confidentiality clause of the Census.