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National Register of Citizens

Context:

A recent Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) report on the update exercise of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has flagged serious irregularities, including “haphazard development” of software for the exercise, making it prone to data tampering, and flagged undue profits worth crores amassed by the system integrator (SI) by violating the Minimum Wages Act.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
  2. Eligibility for inclusion in updated NRC
  3. What has the CAG recommended?

What is the National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register created after the Census of 1951 was conducted in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of people staying therein.
  • These registers covered every individual enumerated during the Census of 1951 and were maintained in the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Sub Divisional Officers in accordance with directives issued by the Government of India in 1951.
    • Later these registers were transferred to the Police in the early 1960s.
  • This NRC was prepared under a directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • At the moment, only Assam has such a register, but additional states may eventually be included.
    •  The Register of Indigenous Inhabitants, a similar database, is already being created in Nagaland.
Update:

The NRC will be updated as per the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. 

NRC in Assam 
  • In Assam, the NRC essentially serves as a registry of Indian residents residing in the region. The goal of the citizens’ registry is to catalogue all foreign nationals living in the Bangladesh-bordering state.
    • To identify Indian nationals in Assam amid “unabated” migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the action was taken.

Eligibility for inclusion in updated NRC

  • Persons whose names appear in NRC, 1951.
  • Persons whose names appear in the Electoral Rolls up to 24th March (midnight), 1971.
  • Descendants of the above persons.
  • Persons who came to Assam from Bangladesh between 1st January 1966 and 25th March 1971 and registered themselves with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office   (FRRO) and were declared by the Foreigner Tribunal as Indian citizens.
  • All Indian Citizens including their children and descendants who have moved to Assam post 24th March 1971 would be eligible for inclusion in the updated NRC on adducing satisfactory proof of residence in any part of the country (outside Assam) as of 24th March 1971.
  • Persons who can provide any of the admissible documents issued up to 24th March midnight, 1971. 

Need for such exercise

  • It effectively calls for the introduction of legislation that will allow the government to track out infiltrators who have been residing unlawfully in India, place them in detention, and then return them to their home countries.
  • Illegal immigrants in India will be the target.
  • Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis, however, who arrive in India claiming to have fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh won’t be impacted.
  • It essentially indicates that every illegal immigrant from a country other than Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Bangladesh will be impacted if a national NRC is enacted as envisaged.
  • And because the Citizenship Amendment Act does not apply to those three countries, those who are immigrants from them who are Muslim will also be impacted.

What has the CAG recommended?

  • The country’s top auditor sought penal measures against Wipro Limited for violating the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act and for paying data operators less than minimum wages.
  • Secondly, the report recommended action against the State Coordinator of National Registration (SCNR) for “excess, irregular and inadmissible payments”.
  • The CAG also recommended fixing accountability of the SCNR as the principal employer for “not ensuring compliance with the Minimum Wage Act”.

-Source: The Hindu


February 2023
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