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NRC (National Register of Citizens)

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    10th Sep, 2019

On 31st August, the updated National Registry of Citizens was released in Assam after a Supreme Court deadline. Of the 3.3 crore applicants, 3.11 crore figured in the final citizens' list, while about 19 lakh residents were excluded.

Context

Context

On 31st August, the updated National Registry of Citizens was released in Assam after a Supreme Court deadline. Of the 3.3 crore applicants, 3.11 crore figured in the final citizens' list, while about 19 lakh residents were excluded.

BACKGROUND

  • During British rule, Assam was merged with Bengal Presidency for administrative purpose. From 1826 to 1947, the British continuously brought migrant workers to Assam for cheap labour in tea plantations.
  • There had been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladeshbut the two major waves of migration came after British rule — first after Partition, from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and then the biggest in the aftermath of the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. This eventually led to an agitation during 1979-85, led by the All Assam Students’ Union demanding illegal migrants to be identified and deported.
  • The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners' agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off dateto root out foreigners. The NRC process was thus started to address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh.
  • The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966 to be deemed as citizens. Those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported.

National Register of Citizens

  • The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings.
  • Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985). The updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on August 31, 2019.
  • It is the biggest exercise India has undertaken to weed out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, as well as their descendants, settled illegally in India, even as there is still no clear plan on deportation of those excluded from the final list.
  • The NRC is a Supreme Court-monitored exercise. It took five years and Rs. 1,220 crore. All residents of Assam had to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in India before March 24, 1971.
  • When the final draft of the list was released on July 30, 2018, out of 3.29 crore applicants, the names of over 40 lakh people were left out of the list.
  • Over 19 lakh people found themselves excluded from the final list on August 31, 2019.
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