Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - III (General Studies – II) - 29 July 2020

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam

UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper - III : General Studies - II : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

Q. Differentiate between the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). Critically discuss the plan of NPR as mooted by the Government of India. (250 words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News?
  • Introduction
  • Differentiation between National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR)
  • Arguments in favour of NPR
  • Arguments against NPR
  • Conclusion


In pursuance of sub-rule (4) of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the central government had decided to prepare and update the Population Register. The data would be collected throughout the country except for Assam. The reason for excluding Assam is because of the ongoing exercise of NRC in the state.

Differentiation between National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR)

  • The NPR is a list of “usual residents of the country”. Ministry of Home Affairs defines “usual resident of the country” as one who has been residing in a local area for at least 6 months or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months. NRC, on the other hand, is a verified digital register having names and basic demographic information about all Indian citizens in a digital format.
  • Assam has become the first state in India that has updated the NRC. By 2020 the government of India has decided to prepare a National Population Register (NPR) in order to lay the foundation for rolling out a citizens' register across the country.
  • Unlike the NRC, NPR is not a citizenship enumeration drive, as it would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months.
  • NPR aims to create an identity database to help in better utilization and implementation of the benefits and services under the government schemes, improve planning and security in the country. NRC, on the other hand, determines the citizen of India and excludes those who are not the citizens of the country.
  • The NPR exercise is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels. NRC has been conducted only in Assam.
  • Recently, the idea of NPR for all of India has been mooted by the government. Thus, putting forward the idea of “one nation, one card” for the whole country.

Arguments in favour of NPR:

  • National Population Register will help government solve many issues in the country. It will help the government to solve problems like law and order, gender equality, etc.
  • It will help the government to formulate better policies and also aid national security.
  • It would lead to the efficient implementation of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, food security and nutrition campaigns.
  • NPR would help India to have a multipurpose identity document that will have all details like Aadhaar and PAN card.
  • The NPR would combine all the different host of identities such as Aadhaar, voter card, passport and more into one card single card.

Arguments against NPR:

  • The NPR has raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship in the country.
  • The debate on Aadhaar and Right to Privacy is still continuing. The NPR now intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India. Thus, giving a new boost to the controversies.
  • The personal data that the government is planning to collect for NPR is quite large and there are concerns whether the government is equipped to protect the citizens’ data.
  • During the NRC exercise in Assam, there were several instances where some members of a family featured in the draft list while the others did not. There could be such discrepancies in the NPR as well.
  • The registering with the NPR is mandatory, furnishing of additional data such as PAN, Aadhaar, driving licence and voter ID is voluntary. Making it mandatory may invite unnecessary litigation.


NPR would include 15 categories of demographic information while biometric details will be sourced from the UIDAI. It comes in the backdrop of the NRC, which has been criticized by many. NPR has already raised anxieties around the idea of citizenship across India.