The citizenry test: Assam NRC explained


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


Draft NRC released

  1. The draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on 30 July
  2. It includes only those able to prove they were in Assam before 1971

Why is NRC being updated in Assam?

  1. Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh
  2. The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings
  3. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985)

Who is a citizen in Assam?

  1. The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord  for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966 to be deemed as citizens
  2. Those who came between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971 were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported

Why is March 24, 1971 the cut-off date?

  1. There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India
  2. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date

Who is a D-voter?

  1. Short for ‘dubious’ or ‘doubtful, this is a category of voters disenfranchised by the government for alleged lack of proper citizenship documents

Who is a declared foreigner?

  1. D-voters are tried by special tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act
  2. If they fail to defend their citizenship claim they are marked as declared foreigners and sent to any of six detention camps, which are within jails for criminals, for deportation

What happens to the excluded 40 lakh?

  1. They will have to file for claims and objections and submit relevant documents for re-verification
  2. The documents will be verified and accepted or rejected for the final NRC to be published on an unspecified date
  3. The cases of those left out of the final NRC will be heard in the Foreigners’ Tribunals, after which applicants can approach the High Court
Citizenship and Related Issues
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