NPR Update: Digital Census and Self-enumeration

The article highlights the deployment of a digital Census as well as the possibility for residents to self-enumerate by updating their National Population Register (NPR) information online.

What is the news?

  • The first digital Census, Census 2021, will allow residents to “self-enumerate” when it is performed.
  • The government has not yet announced a date for the Census, and a notification dated January 2, 2023, implies that the activity would be delayed until at least September.

What is National Population Register (NPR)?

  • The NPR is a register that keeps track of the country’s regular residents.
  • It is prepared at the municipal, sub-district, district, state, and national levels.
  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules of 2003 govern the creation of the NPR.
  • Every ordinary inhabitant of India is required to register with the NPR.
  • A typical resident is described as someone who has lived in a local region for the past 6 months or longer, or someone who plans to live there for the next 6 months or more.

Differences between NPR and the Census Bureau

  • A thorough questionnaire is used to collect information such as age, gender, marital status, occupation, religion, and more.
  • The NPR captures basic demographic information as well as biometric information.
  • The Census Act of 1948 governs the census, whereas the National Population Register is overseen by the Citizenship Act of 1955.

Stipulated process for self-enumeration

  • Only households that have updated their NPR details online will be able to self-enumerate for the Census.
  • The Census is overseen by the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI), which has created a web-based “self-enumeration (SE)” portal that is currently available in English.
  • The yet-to-be-launched mobile-friendly platform will allow users to register their mobile phones in the NPR database, self-enumerate, and fill out Houselisting Operations details.
  • The gathering of Aadhaar or cellphone numbers is required for self-enumeration.

What is the relationship between NPR and NRC?

  • The NPR is the first step in establishing the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC/NRC), according to the Citizenship Rules 2003.
  • The NPR was last revised in 2015, however additional questions were introduced in September 2019 as part of a trial project with 30 lakh respondents.
  • The activity is viewed as a step towards compiling the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) in accordance with the Citizenship Rules, 2003.

What about the security of data?

  • While the Census collects similar information, individual data is kept private by Section 15 of the Census Act of 1948.
  • At the administrative level, only aggregated data is published.
  • Data collected under the NPR are shared with states and used by the Central government for other individual welfare initiatives.

Way forward

  • The government should examine the following to ensure the success of the digital Census and self-enumeration process:
  • Conduct extensive public awareness initiatives to educate citizens on the benefits of self-enumeration.
  • To accommodate varied language preferences, provide multi-language support on the self-enumeration portal.
  • Address citizens’ worries about data privacy and security to foster confidence.
  • Create a strong support structure to assist citizens with technical challenges or inquiries during self-enumeration.
  • Update and upgrade the self-enumeration site on a regular basis based on user feedback to improve user experience and convenience of use.
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.