India renews push for national civil registry, Aadhaar enrollment for kids soon nationwide
The federal government of India has re-launched the process to amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act which will facilitate its plan of creating a new National Register of Citizens (NRC).
This will be a unique database comprising the national population register, the electoral roll, the Aadhaar and ration cards, passports and driver’s licenses, writes NDTV.
Per the report, the new integrated database to be set up will be managed by the Registrar General who will work in collaboration with local registrars at state level.
For now, the database is managed by local registrars at the level of states.
First announced about three years ago, government officials say the NRC is to help identify and fish out immigrants. The plan has however met with protests as Indians have voiced concerns against it, even going as far as carrying placards during street protests.
Protests first broke upon announcement that the NRC would be created alongside the Citizenship Amendment Act which sought to allow immigrants from some neighboring countries be granted Indian citizenship on certain conditions.
The protesters said this could lead to discrimination or persecution of certain immigrants of minority groups.
The biometrics of millions of people in the State of Assam were previously blocked during a review of the NRC, leading to their exclusion from the Aadhaar digital identity system, and court cases to remove the blocks.
NDTV mentions that the amendment bill on the new NRC plan will be tabled in the next parliamentary session.
Meanwhile, Indian authorities say the issuance of Aadhaar numbers linked to birth certificates for children will be possible in all states of the federation in the next few months.
For now, just 16 states are able to offer this service, but officials of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have assured that this will be possible nationwide since the process started a little over a year ago.
No biometrics capture is required for children below the age of five, but for those between five and 15, their data is expected to be updated with ten fingerprints, iris and a facial photo.
The State of Odisha began enrolling newborns for Aadhaar earlier this year.