Editorial

One nation, one card

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/28/2019 10:53:53 AM IST

 Pursuing with intent on creating its objective of one India, one law , one people and one language , union home minister Amit Shah said that the 2021 census will be conducted through a mobile phone application. The 12-digit unique numbers for compilation of National Population Register (NPR), will move away from traditional pen and paper, to promote Digital India. The nationwide exercise will be carried out in 16 languages at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore Shah said. The NPR links biometric and demographic details of any ordinary resident of the country, thus making it a comprehensive database of residents, with all utilities like passport, Aadhaar, driving licence and bank accounts. The idea is not unique as the Aadhar card is currently being used as the sole national identification card which includes almost 91% of Indian citizens as on September 23,2019. Besides Aadhar, the country also has voter cards with 99.36% penetration but only 897 million Indians are eligible to vote. The National Population Register( NPR) exercise is different from the decennial census and is not linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC). For the purpose of NPR, an ordinary resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more. Once Aadhaar details are included, the NPR database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars. The proposed NPR will include 15 categories of demographic information and Aadhaar number of those who are willing to provide during NPR updation. Collection of biometrics is not been provided under Citizenship Rules. The issue of one card one country is in sync with the BJP’s agenda of a unitary system. A one multi-utility card as it may be called, cannot lift India to a higher economic status since it only serves as a data compilation base. The issue of data misuse for political interest is also one where the problem arises. However, economics was probably not in the radar of the BJP when it came to apportioning credit. Opinions on such identification cards are divided and the proposed single multi-utility card also attracts different views. In theory, the proposal sounds good but the apprehension that the government , with a brute majority, seeks to “unify” India, which in reality, rejects ethos of unity in diversity, cannot be easily dismissed. The polarisation of the national psyche through unleashing of hyper-nationalism cannot also be ignored. In this regard, many have taken the proposed single nation card with a pinch of salt. In parliamentary democracy, the majority party always wins the day even if the decision(s)could be wrong. For those who believe in a pluralistic and liberal India, the forces unleashing hyper-nationalism have disabled the independence of various apex agencies like CBI, ED, ECI, RBI ,NIA, DRI etc. Judicious interpretation of census data can be a powerful tool for planning as demographic trends are good indicators of underlying socio-cultural and economic factors that determine changes in the trajectory of populations. However, there is lurking shadows that the census would invariably include date on religious communities. And this could just be the eventual rabbit emerging out of the one-card hat.

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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