NPR 2020: In a First, Enumerators May Ask Residents For Mother Tongue Details
A government office gathering details of citizens (Photo Credits: @HarmukhNews/ Twitter)

New Delhi, January 13: Enumerators seeking details of residents to update the National Population Register or NPR 2020 may also ask about the mother tongue. Residents were not asked about their mother tongue in 2010 when the NPR was created as well as in 2015 when the data was updated for the first time. The language information, however, was previously collected under the census exercise. The Union Cabinet has approved over Rs 8500 crore for updating the NPR. BJP Ally JD(U) Refuses Support to NPR Days After Nitish Kumar Ruled Out NRC in Bihar.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the NPR 2020 form does not have a section on mother tongue. However, the NPR manual prepared to train enumerators has a separate section called, "Code for Mother Tongue", the report added. The manual lists 277 languages in India. As part of NPR updation, a census will be conducted from house to house across the country likely from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Why Citizenship Amendment Act+NRC Raise Fear And Concerns: A Multi-Dimensional Take.

"Language data will help better formulation of policy and help the government better target development schemes. Also, language data is collected in the Census; there should be no apprehension," Vasudha Gupta, spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs, was quoted as saying. The NPR manual also says that getting the correct date of birth of a person is "one of the important items of information" being collected under NPR.

In addition to the mother tongue, NPR 2020 will also seek information on the place and date of birth of residents' parents, apart from their nationality. Opposition parties are saying that the data collected during the NPR drive will be used for the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The NPR, a register of usual residents, will be prepared under the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

Notably, the ongoing work for preparing and updating the National Population Register has been withheld in West Bengal, Kerala and Rajasthan. The NPR is also a part of the 2021 census.