As a first step towards national registration of citizens, the federal home ministry plans to create a national database of all Indian citizens to register births and deaths of all citizens nationwide, a cabinet note and a bill moved by the ministry have been disclosed . Currently, the database is maintained by states through their local registrars.
The last proposal to link Aadhaar cards to voter ID cards, although voluntary, was met with strong opposition from Parliament when the Electoral Commission proposed changes to the Representation of the People Act.
Now, the government wants to integrate this database with population registration and voter rolls, Aadhaar cards, ration cards, passports and driving licences, and has submitted a Cabinet notice to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act.
The Registrar General of India will maintain this database and maintain it in cooperation with the chief registrars of the states. It will be regularly updated with various agencies responsible for Aadhaar, ration cards, electoral rolls, passports and driving licences.
The note indicates that the government intends to move forward with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) announced by Federal Home Minister Amit Shah to weed out immigrants deemed illegal by the government by consolidating and updating the National Population Register.
Plans to create a nationwide NRC were first announced for Assam, along with the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which sparked mass protests across the country nearly three years ago.
Critics of the move say that, combined with the CAA, if any refugees from neighbouring countries move to India before 2015, they will only be granted citizenship if they are not Muslims, and the NRC process could lead to discrimination against minority communities. persecution.
With census work still on hold due to COVID-19, and the government has learned of the need to appoint a special sub-registrar to handle on-site death registration during disasters, there has been a renewed push for an NRC-like initiative.
Government officials said the proposal was expected to be adopted by the cabinet soon, with amendments expected to be tabled at the next parliamentary session.