Citizenship Amendment Bill: To calm nerves amid backlash, Centre mulls incentives for those who wish to settle outside North East

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Published: January 23, 2019 12:44:23 PM

Government added that the burden of these persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country and Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, when passed, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities. (File/PTI)

In the backdrop of stiff opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill in north eastern India and particularly in Assam, the central government is planning to incentivise people who wish to settle outside the region. Government added that the burden of these persecuted migrants will be shared by the whole country and Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden.

According to news agency PTI, Home Ministry sources said it is considering a proposal to provide incentives to those people who want to settle anywhere in India, except the Northeast. Providing an incentive decision is an attempt to calm the volatile situation in the strategically crucial region of the country. The government has been facing severe protests as a large section of people and organisations in Northeast India have opposed the Bill saying that it will nullify the provisions of the historic Assam Accord of 1985, which had fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Moreover, the government on Tuesday said that the Indian citizenship would not be granted to any foreigner without the consent of state governments concerned after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Union Home Ministry spokesperson Ashok Prasad said every application for the citizenship will be enquired into by the deputy commissioner or district magistrate concerned, who will carry out due diligence and submit it to the state government concerned. He added that the state government also has to conduct an enquiry through its agencies and only after that, an individual will be granted Indian nationality. Prasad further said that without the recommendations of the state government, no one will be given Indian citizenship.

Recently, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also said the Bill will apply to all States and Union Territories and the beneficiaries can reside anywhere in the country.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, when passed, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians – from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after their stay in India for seven years, instead of 12 years at present and this is applicable to those who came to India before December 31, 2014.

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