The letters to our office with regards to the "National Population Registry" (NPR) camps got me interested and confused.
The NPR is run by census office under the home ministry and is a registry of all usual residents, ie. everybody who has "resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.".
It captures all sorts of data about the person including biometric data (finger prints, iris scans, photograph) and issues a smart card containing such data. At that point I had to stop and think – hey, how does this relate to the vaunted (by government, criticised by others..) UID set up by Nilekani?
From the letter we received at our office it wasn't quite clear. It did state that even if a UID/Aadhaar had been received you should still attend the NPR camp and get your details updated.
After some Googling it turns out that:
a) Original remit of UID didn't include issuing any cards or such, simply to collect the data and maintain the database
b) NPR was supposed to use this database to issue smart cards
c) In some areas smart cards could be issued by the local registrar
d) UID did float a tender in 2011 for the issuance of some 150 million cards
e) Said tender was later cancelled in the end of 2011
f) After registering some 200 million people NPR was supposed to take over all registration of biometric data from UIDAI – that point has now in Jan been crossed
Conclusion is that supposedly UID number will be printed on a persons NPR smart card and if no UID exists the NPR biometric data collected should result in a UID number being created.
All this means that the NPR smart card happily adds to the bewildering array of identification that an proper Indian resident needs to/can carry:
- UID registration (paper slip with Aadhaar number from UIDAI)
- NPR registration/smart card
- PAN card for income taxes
- Voters ID
- Ration card
Not to mention extras such as: ESI smart card, drivers license, etc.
Additionally to make matters easier the UID and NPR databases are registering all residents – ie. not only citizens – where as the PAN database is for any tax resident (defined differently from UID/NPR usual residence status) and naturally voters id/passports are based on only on citizens…