National Register of Citizens (NRC)

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    • Only little over a thousand doubtful cases in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam have been referred to the concerned district commissioners for necessary action.

    About

    • Re-verification: The current government has rejected the NRC in its current form and demanded re-verification of at least 30% names in areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% in the rest of the State.
    • Approaching the Foreigners Tribunals (FT): Each rejected person can approach the Foreigners Tribunals (FT) within 120 days of receiving the rejection slips.
      • Under Citizenship Rules any person may object to the inclusion of any other person’s name in the citizen register or exclusion from the register, following which the local registrar will issue a notice and the applicants will have to furnish documents to prove their claims.
      • The register is published at the village and ward levels.
    • Supervision of the apex court: Assam is the only state where an NRC was compiled under the supervision of the apex court.
      • The exercise was a culmination of the Assam Accord of 1985 signed between the Centre and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) for detection, disenfranchisement and deportation of foreigners.
    • Budgetary allocation: There is no additional budget allocated for NRC in the year 2020 by the State or Central Government. In the year 2021, Rs 10.07 crore is allocated in the State budget by the Government of Assam.

    What is the National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

    • A register: National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein. 
    • Census of 1951: These registers covered each and every person enumerated during the Census of 1951 and were kept in the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Sub Divisional Officers according to instructions issued by the Government of India in 1951.
      • Later these registers were transferred to the Police in the early 1960s.
    • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA): This NRC was prepared under a directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
    • Assam: At present, only Assam has such a register and the exercise may be extended to other states as well. 
      • Nagaland is already creating a similar database known as the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants.

    NRC in Assam 

    • List of Indian citizens living in the state: The NRC in Assam is basically a list of Indian citizens living in the state. The citizens’ register sets out to identify foreign nationals in the state that borders Bangladesh.
      • The reason behind the move was to identify Indian citizens in Assam amid “unabated” migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). 
    • The Centre has been pushing for NRCs in every state: Nagaland has already started an exercise to create a similar database of citizens known as the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants.

    How will the NRC be updated?

    • Provisions: The NRC will be updated as per the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. 

    Eligibility for inclusion in updated NRC

    • Persons whose names appear in NRC, 1951.
    • Persons whose names appear in the Electoral Rolls up to 24th March (midnight), 1971.
    • Descendants of the above persons.
    • Persons who came to Assam from Bangladesh between 1st January 1966 and 25th March 1971 and registered themselves with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office   (FRRO) and were declared by the Foreigner Tribunal as Indian citizens.
    • All Indian Citizens including their children and descendants who have moved to Assam post 24th March 1971 would be eligible for inclusion in the updated NRC on adducing satisfactory proof of residence in any part of the country (outside Assam) as of 24th March 1971.
    • Persons who can provide any of the admissible documents issued up to 24th March midnight, 1971. 

     What is the need for such exercise?   

    • Identify infiltrators: It effectively suggests bringing legislation that will enable the government to identify infiltrators who have been living in India illegally, detain them and finally deport them where they came from.
    • It will target illegal immigrants in India:
      • But Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh won’t be affected, if they claim they have arrived in India after fleeing religious persecution. 
    • 3 countries: It essentially means, if a nationwide NRC is implemented as proposed, any illegal immigrant from other than Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, will be affected.
      • And as for those three nations, people coming from there who belong to the Muslim community will also be affected as they are not included in the Citizenship Amendment Act.

    Is there any link between the CAA and NRC?

    • There is no direct link between the CAA and NRC: The Citizenship Amendment Act is meant to help members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution, ensuring that they will not be treated as illegal immigrants and given Indian citizenship. 
    • Approval: The Act got the President of India’s approval in December 2019 after it was passed by both Houses of Parliament. 
    • Extension: The rules of this Act are yet to be framed and the Centre has sought the extension of the deadline until 2022 in the Supreme Court. 
    • The NRC: on the other hand is a process of valid Indian identification.

    Source: TH