“Till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare a National Register of Indian Citizens at the national level,” according to the minister of state for home Nityanand Rai in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Compare that to what Union home minister Amit Shah told the House less than three months ago, in November 2019: “The Assam exercise was carried out under a Supreme Court order. NRC will be carried out across the country, will be done in Assam again at the time, no one from any religion should be worried.” Has the Ministry of Home Affairs really changed its mind, or is it just backtracking because of the large-scale protests against the NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act? Or, as critics believe may be the case, is it saying one thing and doing another?
The Home Ministry has said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the government has not taken any decision on preparing a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
In an answer to a question during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai replied that so far the government has not taken any decision on the NRC.
“Till now, there is no decision on the preparation of the NRC for Indian citizens at the national level,” said the written reply.
The question was raised by MPs Chandan Singh and Nageshwar Rao.
They asked whether the government had any plans to bring the NRC in the country. And, in case the government is planning, then what are the cut off dates, whether the Centre had discussed this with the states, whether the government had received letters from the states on refusing the NRC and in case it did what were the statewise details.
The Centre, by coming out with this clarification at a time when there are countrywide protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR, hopes to calm the tempers.
Nityanand Rai also clarified on questions over the National Population Register (NPR), that no document is to be collected during the exercise of updation of the NPR. He stated that respondents are only expected to provide information true to the best of their knowledge and belief.
“Demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be updated/collected. No document is to be collected during the exercise; Aadhaar number is collected voluntarily. Further, no verification is done to find individuals whose citizenship is doubtful, during the exercise.” the minister replied.
The minister added that the Government is in discussion with the states having concerns with regard to the preparation of the NPR.