The Indian cabinet on Tuesday approved funds for a census and a population survey to be held next year despite weeks of protests over a citizenship law that critics claimed is anti-Muslim.
Authorities said the updated National Population Register (NPR) would be a comprehensive list of all residents.
However, critics said it would be a list from which “doubtful citizens” would be asked to prove they are Indian.
More than 20 people have died in protests over the citizenship law.
Authorities said the aim of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every “usual resident” of the country.
A “usual resident” is a person who has lived in an area for at least six months or a person who plans to live in an area for the next six months or more. This means foreigners living in India would be included in the NPR.
After Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, minister Prakash Javadekar said the government had allocated 39.4bn rupees ($553m; £427m) for the NPR and that it would be updated between April and September 2020. (BBC)