Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) is planning to create a National Population Register (NPR), a comprehensive database containing information on all citizens.
The national statistics agency revealed it at a workshop held at the city’s NEC auditorium on Sunday. NPR is a comprehensive identity database for demographic and biometric information of all citizens.
The NPR will also help in the planning and protection of national security.
“Family tree will be created through NPR which will help remove complexity in land litigation and other administrative matters. It is such a register where every citizen’s information will be included after birth but never be removed after his or her death,” said Statistics and Informatics Division (SID) Secretary Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury.
The demographic and biometric information of all the citizens will be preserved in NPR permanently and every citizen will be provided with an individual identification number. So any citizen can easily be detected using NPR, BBS officials said.
The database will supply real-time data on population statistics, entry and exit to and from the country, birth and death, marriage and divorce.
It will be possible to carry out a register-based census using the NPR instead of conducting a large-scale population census every 10 years, they noted.
Section 6 of Statistics Law 2013 identifies the formulation of the National Population Register and its regular updating as one of the main activities of BBS.
Based on this as well as the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) Census wing of BBS has set a target to create the NPR.
Speaking on the occasion, Planning Minister MA Mannan said: “NPR will help in making all types of government services more effective and assist in detecting fraud and ensure national security.”
It will be a step forward towards building a prosperous and “Digital Bangladesh,’ he said.
However, he asked for remaining cautious about maintaining the privacy of people so that foreign companies can’t commercially utilize those. He also warned about information overlapping.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam spoke on the occasion as a special guest with SID secretary Muhammad Yamin Chowdhury in the chair. BBS Director-General Mohammad Tajul Islam also spoke at the event.
BBS Director Dr Md Shahadat Hossain made a presentation on the NPR while Statistics and Informatics Division Additional Secretary Sheikh Md Kabedul Islam moderated the workshop.
Dr Shamsul Alam said NPR is an important thing for the whole nation as necessary information of all citizens would be incorporated in it.
Mentioning that almost similar kinds of data and information are available in Population and Housing Census, NPR and the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES), he suggested avoiding fragmentation and overlapping of data while preparing the NPR.
Stressing the need for using updated data, the state minister for Planning said if data are not updated, the projections would not be correct and the plans would fail. He also suggested BBS for updating the existing base year of 2005-06.
Dr Shamsul Alam informed that the government aims to bring all poor people of the country under social protection by 2025 for which there is a need for completing the NPR as early as possible.
Countries like Belgium, Chile, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Korea, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have already introduced NPR. In India, data for NPR was collected in 2010 along with the house listing phase of Census of India 2011.