National Register of Citizens – NRC

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National Register of Citizens – NRC

National Register of Citizens – NRC

Currently in the Assam assembly elections, the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) has come to prominence as more than 19 lakh applicants out of 3.29 crore applicants have been left out of the final list of registers. In this case, the Center has directed the Assam government that a “rejection slip” should be issued immediately to those who were excluded from the last National Register of Citizens published in 2019.

Background:

  • Being a border state with serious problems like illegal migration, a register of citizens was created for the state of Assam in 1951 based on the 1951 census data.
  • The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 was passed by the Parliament to create a separate authority for the identification of illegal migrants in Assam, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 2005, after which the Government of India agreed to renew the Assam NRC.

National Register of Citizens

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation has been authorized by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • It was first implemented in the state of Assam in 2013-2014 and is the only Indian state where it has been implemented. It covers only those Indian citizens who have been residents of Assam State since before March 25, 1971.
  • Till now NRC is applicable only in those states of India which have border with other countries, because there are many problems of illegal migration from there, but the Government of India plans to implement it in the rest of the country in the year 2021.
  • The Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India serves as the nodal agency for the NRC.

Impact:

  • As a result of its renewal, there will be a decline in the number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam.
  • With this, certificates will be made available to all legal citizens of India, so that illegal migrants can be identified and deported.
  • The fear of imprisonment and deportation, if residing in Assam without an NRC certificate, will prevent illegal migration.
  • This can make it more difficult for illegal migrants, to purchase Indian identity documents, and to take advantage of all the rights and benefits that Indian citizens receive.

Challenges:

  • With the help of the NRC’s parallel process, Election Commission voter list and Assam Border Police, foreigners’ tribunals have created chaos, as none of these agencies are sharing information with each other.
  • There is uncertainty about the future of those not included in the list.
  • India cannot send illegal migrants back to Bangladesh without a formal agreement.
  • Working permit could be another option, which would give them limited legal rights to work, but there is no clarity about the future of such persons’ children.

Source: The Hindu

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