The Home Affairs Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Congress MP Ananda Sharma has challenged the Home Ministry. Responding to a query by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home Affairs, the Home Ministry said the decision on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) nationwide has not yet been finalized.
Responding to the committee’s concerns about the upcoming census process and the National Population Register (NPR) update, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said, “All personal data collected in the census is confidential. In the census, only the aggregate data is released at administrative levels. As with previous censuses, a wide range of campaigns will be undertaken to raise public awareness on how to successfully conduct and complete Census 2021. Census questionnaires have been examined with NPR in a pre-test conducted nationwide. The government has made it clear from time to time that no decision has been taken to create the NRC, ”the MHA explained.
However the Parliamentary Standing Committee said that the government has been giving mixed reactions about the NRC nationwide and this is worrisome. The committee said that all states should be briefed and properly informed about the NPR.
Several states with opposition parties in power have previously said the NPR will not be implemented. The panel cited the states’ concerns that it would be used to implement the NRC nationwide and to combine it with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to target minority communities.
When nationwide protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR took place at the end of 2019 and early 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to take back his statement that the NRC process had already begun. The government later claimed that the NRC had never been given final approval. The government said it was still under debate (as the MHA said).
Prior to this, Home Minister Amit Shah had announced on several platforms, including Parliament, that center would implement the nationwide NRC.
The Union Home Minister had informed the Rajya Sabha on November 20, 2019, that the NRC would be implemented in all states (second time in Assam), despite their public declarations the otherwise in political rallies, press conferences and interviews.