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  1. In-brief: What is Assam’s National Register of Citizens updation and how it will impact illegal immigrants

In-brief: What is Assam’s National Register of Citizens updation and how it will impact illegal immigrants

Assam's first National Register of Citizens has been published with names of 1.9 crore people as state's legal citizens.

By: | Updated: January 1, 2018 3:26 PM
The NRC, for which a total of 3.29 crore people had filed an application, is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state.

Assam first National Register of Citizens has been published with names of 1.9 crore people as state’s legal citizens. The NRC, for which a total of 3.29 crore people had filed an application, is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state. The unpublished names are still under stages of verification. The Registrar General of India said that schedule to publish the next draft will be decided as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court in April, 2018. The process of filing the applications had ended in May, 2018 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.

What is NRC, 1951?

National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein. These registers covered each and every person enumerated during the Census of 1951 and were kept in the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Sub Divisional Officers according to instructions issued by the Government of India in 1951. Later these registers were transferred to the Police in the early 1960s.

Why is the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated in Assam?

National Register of Citizens (NRC) updation basically means the process of enlisting the names of those persons (or their descendants) whose names appear in any of the Electoral Rolls up to 1971, 1951 NRC or any of the admissible documents stipulated.

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. Thereafter, the government created a directorate for updating the NRC and the process of computerisation of the voters’ list up to 1971 and the NRC of 1951 began.

How will it impact the illegal immigrants – The Assam accord?

The Assam accord was signed between the leaders of AASU-AAGSP and the Government of India in 1985 marking an end to a six-year-long agitation. The parties agreed that all foreigners who had entered Assam between 1951 and 1961 would be given full citizenship. However, those who entered the state after 1971 will be deported.

What is the background of NRC updation?

A National Register of Citizens was prepared in 1951 after the conduct of the Census of that particular year. The Register included particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census. As per statutes governing NRC updation that are The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 (As amended by 1. G. S. R. 803(E), dated 9th November, 2009 (with effect from 9/11/2009.) 2. Ministry of Home Affairs (Office of Registrar General, India), Order No. S.O. 596(E), dated 15th March, 2010, published in the Gazette of India, Extra, Part II. No. 504 S.3(ii), dated 16th March, 2010 p.1.) NRC updation process has started in Assam in 2015.

How will the NRC be updated?

The NRC will be updated as per the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 (As amended by 1. G. S. R. 803(E), dated 9th November 2009 (with effect from 9/11/2009.) 2. Ministry of Home Affairs (Office of Registrar General, India), Order No. S.O. 596(E), dated 15th March, 2010, published in the Gazette of India, Extra, Part II. No. 504 S.3(ii), dated 16th March, 2010 p.1.). As per the two statutes, the eligibility status would be ascertained based on the NRC, 1951, Electoral Rolls upto 1971 and in their absence the admissible documents upto 24th March (midnight) 1971. The updated NRC shall contain names of persons eligible for inclusion in updated NRC by virtue of being original inhabitants of Assam.

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