From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NRC, NPR
Mains level : Read the attached story
Bowing to demands from tribal groups, the Manipur Assembly has resolved to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and establish a State Population Commission (SPC).
To date, Assam is the only northeastern State to have implemented the NRC.
What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
- The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens whose creation is mandated by the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
- The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India.
- Its purpose is to document all the legal citizens of India so that the illegal immigrants can be identified and deported.
- It has been implemented for the state of Assam starting in 2013–2014.
- The GoI announced plans to implement it for the rest of the country in 2021, but it has not yet been implemented.
NRC and Assam
- Assam, being a border state with unique problems of illegal immigration, had a register of citizens created for it in 1951 based on the 1951 census data.
- However, it was not maintained afterwards.
- For decades, the presence of migrants, often called “bahiragat” or outsiders, has been a loaded issue here.
- The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 was then passed by the Parliament, creating a separate tribunal process for identifying illegal migrants in Assam.
- The Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional in 2005, after which the Centre agreed to update the Assam NRC.
Who is a Foreigner in Assam?
- The National Register of Citizens now takes its definition of illegal immigrants from the Assam Accord – anyone who cannot prove that they or their ancestors entered the country before the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner and face deportation.
- Those who entered on or after March 25, 1971, the eve of the Bangladesh War, would be declared foreigners and deported.
- This means you could be born in India in 1971 to parents who crossed the border in that year, and still be termed an illegal immigrant at the age of 48.
CAA and NRC protests
- These were a series of protests in India against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 which was enacted into law on December 12, 2019, and against the nationwide implementation of the NRC.
- Protesters in all regions are concerned that the upcoming compilation of the National Register of Citizens might be used to deprive a community of its Indian citizenship.
Back2Basics: National Population Register (NPR)
- The NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country.
- Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.
- It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
- A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.
- Once the basic details of the head of the family are taken by the enumerator, an acknowledgement slip will be issued. This slip may be required for enrolment in NPR, whenever that process begins.
- And, once the details are recorded in every local (village or ward), sub-district (tehsil or taluk), district and State level, there will be a population register at each of these levels.
- Together, they constitute the National Population Register.