From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NRC
Mains level : NRC across India
The proposal for a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) is worrisome on several counts. The government would also re-introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that envisages the grant of Indian citizenship to all refugees from minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Drawbacks of the idea
- Experience – the inability to learn from the experience of carrying out the humongous exercise in Assam.
- CAB – religion – the Bill denies a benefit to Muslim minorities from other neighboring countries, including Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims face persecution.
- Assam again – Home Minister announced that the NRC process would be conducted in Assam again with the rest of the country.
- Assam hanging – There is still no clarity on what the 19 lakh plus people outside the NRC could do. They are potentially stateless and at risk of “deportation”.
- Bangladesh – Bangladesh refuses to acknowledge them.
NRC for the whole country
- If there is a lesson from Assam, it is that there is no right way of going through a process such as the NRC.
- Fear for minorities – there are genuine fears that a nationwide NRC will target Muslims.
- Administrative details – of how such an exercise will be carried out are not yet known.
- Cutoff date – In the case of Assam, there was a cut-off date after which all foreigners as per the Assam Accord were to be expelled. The Centre may come out with a cut-off for the nationwide NRC.
Given the dangers that lurk within such exercises, the government could abandon the nationwide NRC-CAB combination. Indians can certainly be spared this pain.