Citizenship and Related Issues

Centre amends rules for minorities from three nations


Mains Paper 1: Social Issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Register of Citizens (NRC), Citizenship Act, 1955, Assam Accord, 1985

Mains level: Updation of NRC and its implications on demography as well as security situation of Assam as well as other neighbouring states



  1. A parliamentary committee has been examining the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that proposes citizenship to six persecuted minorities — Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who came to India before 2014.
  2. It has run into strong resistance in the Assam because it will pave the way for giving citizenship mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, who came after March 1971, in violation of the 1985 Assam Accord.

Separate column for Minorities

  1. The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is pending in Parliament, but the Union Home Ministry has notified amendments to the Citizenship Rules, 2009.
  2. It seeks to include a separate column in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  3. Since 2011, nearly 30,000 Pakistanis, mostly Hindus, have been granted long-term visas.

New amendments

  1. The Centre has made the changes under Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. New rules were notified on December 3.
  2. Under the amendments, a separate entry in the form will ask the applicant: Do you belong to one of the minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs and Christians?

Benefits of the move

  1. The amendments are done to provide relief to the people.
  2. The amended rules are expected to benefit those who escaped persecution.
  3. They are not in violation of the work of the parliamentary committee.

Additional Readings:

The citizenry test: Assam NRC explained

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