The National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is a register maintained by the Government of India, was recently implemented to record genuine citizens of India and to identify infiltrators. Many states, especially in the North East, face the problem of infiltration from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, and the state of Assam is the first to implement the NRC.
Assam has been facing socio-ethnic tensions with locals being apprehensive about being marginalised in their home state due to the infiltration from Bangladesh. To identify illegal immigrants, the National Register of Citizens was prepared for the first time in Assam during the conduct of 1951 Census. But it was not implemented until recently when it was updated.
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR INCLUSION:
A person residing in Assam is eligible to get his or her name entered in the register if he or she can provide proof of residing in the state or any other part of the country up to March 24, 1971. A person has to provide legal document in the name of his or her ancestor which would prove the holder's or ancestor's presence within the territorial limits of the state.
Those who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966 but before March 25, 1971 and who have registered themselves as per the rules made by the Central Government with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) and who have not been declared as illegal migrants or foreigners by the competent authority are eligible.
A person is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens if he or she is an original inhabitant of Assam and his or her children and descendants are citizens of India, provided their citizenship is ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt by the registering authority.
'D' voters can apply for inclusion of their names in the updated NRC, but their names will be finally included only when the appropriate Foreigner Tribunal declares them as non-foreigners.
Citizens who moved to Assam post-March 24, 1971 would be eligible for inclusion provided they can produce proof they have resided in any part of the country other than Assam as on March 24, 1971.
Every person, who can provide proof beyond a doubt of being an original inhabitant, will have his or her name updated in the NRC.
HOW IT WORKS:
Help Desks named as NRC Seva Kendras (NSKs) have been set up across the state of Assam to assist people who have enrolled to update their NRC details. The NSK desks will assist people in searching the Legacy Data, distribution of Application Form, receipt of Application Form, carrying out all the data entry work, displaying of Draft NRC and so on.
The NSKs are equipped with sophisticated software for Legacy Data Search in three languages - English, Assamese and Bengali. People can submit their application forms only at the NSK that covers their present address, and officials will visit the given address to conduct the verification of the applicant.
Not all are happy with the National Register of Citizens, as most people fear that they might become stateless if their names are not included in the list. Along with there not being a specific policy to ascertain their fate, there is also very limited scope of them being deported to Bangladesh. People who are excluded from the list would have to be proven that they are citizens of Bangladesh, and it will require the cooperation of the said country.