National People Register, National Population Register and Census

National People Register Vs Census

  • Any person who has been living in an area or locality for six months or more or intends to live in an area/locality for the next six months at the time of a survey is considered a resident.
  • The NPR is a register of all ‘residents’ of the country, prepared at several levels — local (village/sub-town), subdistrict, district, state and national — according to the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The objective of the exercise is the create a comprehensive database of residents of the nation including their demographic particulars. The exercise is carried out under the supervision of Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner, India. Every citizen of India has to be issued a national identity card under the law.

National Population Register( NPR) vs National Register of Citizens (NRC)

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Details required for NPR

The demographic details of every individual are required for every usual resident on 21 points which includes ‘date and place of birth of parents’, last place of residence, Permanent Account Number (PAN), Aadhar (on a voluntary basis), Voter ID card number, Driving License Number and Mobile Number.

In the last NPR done in 2010, the data was collected on the 15 points and it did not include ‘date and place of birth of parents’ and last place of residence.


  • The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • In the Census, data is collected on demographic and various socio-economic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals.

Two different phases of census:

  • House listing and housing census
  • Population enumeration.

Some facts:

  • For the first time, population counting was conducted in the Rig Vedic period.
  • From 1951, census was done as per census act 1948.
  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, while Census 2011 was in 16 of the 22 scheduled languages declared at that time.
  • It also will introduce a code directory to streamline the process.
  • The option of “Other” under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”.

Population census

The Population Enumeration follows the Housing Census within a gap of six to eight months which counts each and every person in the country, Indian national or otherwise, along with his or her individual particulars and information on social, cultural, demographic, economic and other aspects

Concern with Census:

  • Underutilisation and non-utilisation of Census Data.
  • There are numerous large-scale surveys published by different ministries of govt of India.
  • Data collected are not disseminated on time, despite the use of technology. Ex:- Data on migration was released in 2017 eco survey though collected in 2011.
  • Census based information was important at a time when there was no alternative way of gauging the dynamics of population change.

Objectives of SECC 2011:

The SECC, 2011 has 3 major objectives:

  • Households to be ranked based on their socioeconomic status. State Governments can then prepare a list of families living below the poverty line.
  • To obtain authentic information about caste-wise population of the country.
  • To obtain authentic information regarding the socioeconomic condition, and education status of various castes and sections of the population

Methodology used for SECC Data:

  • Excluded- It identified the parameters to automatically exclude certain households. Some parameters are pucca house with four or more rooms, a car, washing machine, fridge and two- wheeler.
  • Automatically included – Those facing certain residential, social or occupational vulnerabilities, such as homeless or living in informal housing, households with no able-bodied persons or adults or groups like beggars, rag pickers or sanitation workers.
  • Others -The remaining households will be ranked using 7 Deprivation Indicators.

Deprivation Indicators: SECC, depicted deprivation using seven indicators:

  • Households with a kutcha house.
  • Without an adult member in working age.
  • Headed by a woman and without an adult male in working age.
  • With a disabled member and without an able bodied adult.
  • Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST).
  • Without literate adults over 25 years 
  • The landless engaged in manual labour.

Benefits of caste census:

  • It will reveal the elites among the backward class and thus has a potential to make an efficient reservation system.
  • It will enable data driven policy making.
  • The status of migrants from one state to another state, and status of children of inter caste marriage will also be known.


  • It will perpetuate the caste system.
  • It will harden caste identities.
  • If any data fudging happens while enumeration, it will spoil the entire system of reservation.
  • Can further strengthen caste based politics.
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