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All You Need To Know About National Register of Citizens (NRC) Issue

What is the NRC Assam?

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) contains names of Indian citizens of Assam. The NRC was prepared in 1951, after 1951 Census of India.
  • Eligibility: 
  1. Persons included in the 1951 census
  2. Persons on the Electoral Rolls up to midnight 24 March 1971
  3. Descendants of the above-mentioned persons
  4. Persons who came to Assam on or after 1 January 1966 but before 25 March 1971 and registered themselves in accordance to the rules made by the Central Government with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) and those who have not been declared as illegal migrants or foreigners by the authority
  5. ‘D’ voters (or Doubtful  voters) can apply to be included if the appropriate Foreigner Tribunal declares them as non-foreigners. ( In 1997, the polling monitor had ordered the use of the "D" tag against the names of those voters in Assam who, according to the EC, had failed to prove their citizenship.)
  6. Persons who can provide any one of the documents issued up to midnight of 24 March 1971 as mentioned in the list of documents admissible for citizenship.

  • Currently, the list is being updated for the first time, and only in Assam which has had a longstanding foreigner problem, to weed out illegal immigrants and deter further influx.
  • It is being done by the state government machinery under the Registrar-General of India. Citizenship being a subject on the Union List, the Centre is responsible for the policy decisions, guidelines and funds for the NRC update.
  • On 30th July, 2018, the final draft of NRC was released. Names of 40 lakh (4 million) people were still left out in the final draft.

  • there is a lot of controversy regarding citizenship and migration issues in Assam. Original inhabitants of Assam fear that the migrants from Bangladesh would compete with them for land, jobs and consequently hamper Assam’s culture.
  • The demands to update the NRC of 1951 were first raised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Assam Gana Parishad more than three decades ago. The organisations had submitted a memorandum to the Centre on January 18, 1980, two months after launching the anti-illegal foreigners Assam Movement.
  • On November 17, 1999, at an official-level tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, a decision was taken that the NRC would be updated and the Centre sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the purpose and released Rs 5 lakh of it to start the exercise. Later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led government took the final decision to update NRC on May 5, 2005.
  • a pilot project was launched in some districts but it soon erupted violent agitations by groups opposed to such exercise and the NRC update was halted. 
  • Thereafter, in 2009 Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding identification of Bangladeshi foreigners in the State and deletion of their names from the voters’ list. Finally the Supreme Court ordered in 2013 to complete the exercise by December 31, 2017 leading to the present updating of NRC.

How is the NRC being updated?
  • The NRC Assam is being updated as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

The Constitutional Challenge to S. 6A of the Citizenship Act
  • Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 those who came from Bangladesh between 1966 and 1971 will have to register themselves with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, and will be included in the NRC, but will not have voting rights for 10 years from the date of registration.
  • But According to Article 6 of the Constitution, the cutoff for determining citizenship in India is July 19, 1948.

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