National Register Of Citizen- NRC (GS Paper-II, Polity, Constitution and Governance) Source: The Hindu

Why in news?

  • Over 19 lakhs of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were excluded from the final draft register published on August 31st 2019.

  • The Assam 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. 

What can rejected applicants do?

  • Each rejected person can approach foreign Tribunal within 120 days of receiving the rejection list.

  • Under Citizenship rule any person may object to the inclusion or exclusion of a person from citizens register.

  • After which the local Registrar will issue a notice and the applicants will have to furnish the documents to prove their claim.

What is NRC:

  • National register of citizens is the official record of legal Indian citizens. It includes demographic information of all Indian citizens as per the Citizenship Act 1955.

  • For the first time the register was prepared in 1951.

Assam and NRC:

  • Assam is the only state in the country that has maintained such a database.

  • Reason: a lot of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh migrated to Assam after the 1971 Bangladesh war which created a lot of conflicts and resentment that ultimately culminated into the Assam Accord of 1985.

  • The Supreme Court ordered the update of the NRC of Assam in 2014 which officially started in 2015.

What is the Assam Accord?

  • This was a memorandum of settlement signed between the representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam movement.

  • This ended the six years of Assam movement and was aimed to protect Assamese culture, economic and political rights.

Impact:

  • By updating NRC the problem of illegal immigrants is likely to be resolved by identifying the legal residence from illegal ones.

  • This record will also provide a verified database to formulate appropriate policy.

  • The process of NRC will deter the illegal migrants from procuring Indian identity.

  • At the same time it would also provide relief to Bengalis living in Assam who were suspected to be Bangladeshis.

Concerns and NRC:

  • The process of updating the NRC was flawed; lakhs of people were left out of the draft published in 2018.

  • To resolve this matter the Supreme Court issued an order to mandatorily  submit the biometrics of those who are left out during the hearing of the claims.

  • Out of 27 lakh people left out in 2018 draft only 8 lakhs made it to the list and even these 8 lakhs are struggling to get Aadhar and other benefits.

  • The deprivation from availing the Aadhar and related benefits has created a lot of mental pressure on individuals.

  • Even after the entire process is completed there remains uncertainty about the future of those left out.

  • The burden on Judiciary is likely to increase as “No citizens” can resort to judicial relief.

  • Directly expelling migrants can also jeopardize  relations with Dhaka and may damage the country’s image internationally.

Way forward:

  • Robust mechanism of legal support is required to help people to prove their citizenship of India with their limited means.

  • A proper course of action shall be decided regarding the fate of those excluded people.

  • The land of Vasudev Kutumbakam shall take any decisions with least haste and more precision.

BY:- Vivek raj Yadav

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