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Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)

Published: 13th Jul, 2019

The Nagaland government is initiating an exercise to prepare a list of all indigenous inhabitants of the State known as RIIN.


The Nagaland government is initiating an exercise to prepare a list of all indigenous inhabitants of the State known as RIIN.


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  • This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019.
  • A team of surveyors will be formed, which will comprise sub-divisional officers, block development officers, school headmasters and other nominated members.

What is RIIN?

  • The RIIN will be the first official master list of Nagaland’s indigenous inhabitants. It is seen as a localised version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that Assam began updating four years ago and is scheduled to complete by July 31.
  • Its objective is to prevent people from acquiring fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates.
  • The RIIN cannot grant nor deny citizenship to any person.
  • Nodal Agency: Registrar General and Census Commissioner India.

How will it be prepared?

  • Civil society groups in Nagaland have often conducted house-to-house surveys for listing non-Naga and IBIs (Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants).
  • The list will be based on an extensive survey besides digging into official records of indigenous residents from villages and urban wards.
  • It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
  • RIIN will be finalised and hard copies placed in all villages and wards while electronic copies will be stored in the State Data Centre
  • Everyone figuring in RIIN will be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate (IIC). No IIC will be issued after RIIN is finalised except to babies born to indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
  • The process will be linked with the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP).

Inner Line Permit (ILP)

  • It is a temporary travel document, which an Indian citizen has to possess to enter ‘protected’ areas of the Northeast.
  • The Central government issues the ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, which restricted the entry of ‘British subjects’ or Indians into these areas primarily to protect the British interest in tea and oil.
  • The restriction continued for ‘Citizens of India’ after Independence to protect tribal cultures in the north-eastern region and to regulate movement to certain areas near the international border.
  • Apart from the entire State of Nagaland barring its commercial hub Dimapur, the ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Issues of Indigenous inhabitants in Nagaland

  • Nagaland has 16 recognised tribes- Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungrü and Zeliang.
  • Entry in RIIN is virtually guaranteed for people belonging to these communities.
  • Others such as the Gurkhas living in Nagaland prior to statehood (on December 1, 1963) have been recognised as indigenous. But the definition of ‘indigenous inhabitant’ has been elusive because of issues beyond the tribal-non-tribal divide.
  • There have concerns over Nagas from other areas such as Manipur getting jobs by claiming to be indigenous besides IBIs (Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants) “taking over” large swathes of agricultural lands.
  • Another worry is the Naga custom of adopting new communities such as Sumiya – children of Muslim men and Sumi Naga women – who own large swathes of cultivable land. Organisations such as the Naga Students’ Federation have called for accommodating ‘Nagas by blood and not by adoption’.
  • Some political parties have asked whether or not the “adopted non-Nagas” will be given indigenous rights. A pressure group called the Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants sought to end confusion and “prevent inconsistent enumeration” by suggesting December 1, 1963 as the cut-off date for considering people other than the recognised tribes of Nagaland as indigenous inhabitants.

Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India

  • It was founded in 1961 by Ministry of Home Affairs, for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

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