The government has not taken any decision on preparing a National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) for the whole country, Union minister Nityanand Rai said in Parliament on Tuesday.
He, however, said the government has decided to update the National Population Register (NPR) under the Citizenship Act, 1955, along with the first phase of Census 2021.
"Till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) at national level," Rai said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
So far, the NRC has been updated only in Assam. When the final list of the NRC was published in 2019, a total of 19.06 lakh of the 3.3 crore applicants were excluded, triggering a huge political row.
Replying to another question, the minister said any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of the decisions of the claims and objections during the process of preparing the NRC in Assam may prefer an appeal before the designated Foreigners Tribunals within 120 days from the date of such order.
Since those excluded from the NRC in Assam are yet to exhaust all possible legal remedies available to them, the question of their nationality verification does not arise at this stage, he added.
Referring to the NPR, Rai said the government has decided to update it along with the first phase of Census 2021.
He said the demographic and other particulars of each family and individual are to be updated or collected during the exercise of updating the NPR.
"No document is to be collected during this exercise. However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the update of NPR and other related field activities have been postponed," Rai said.
The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
The NPR is a register of the usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (village and sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national levels under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.