Prelims level : Polity and Governance Mains level : Paper II
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Why in news:

  • A ministry of home affairs shows that 91,609 persons were declared ‘illegal foreigners’ by the foriegner tribunals in assam.of these 72,486 are absconding.


  • Assam is the only State that had prepared an NRC in 1951.
  • It has also now become the first State to get the first draft of its own updated NRC.
  • The Register is meant to establish the credentials of a bona fide citizen as distinguished from a foreigner. This is to detect Bangladeshi migrants who may have illegally entered Assam after the midnight of March 24, 1971.
  • This cut-off date was originally agreed to in the 1985 Assam Accord.


  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a document manufactured by the Government which contains the names of Indian citizens. The updation of the NRC is a periodical process. It requires to be updated at regular intervals so as to ensure proper documentation of the citizens as well as to check possible illegal migration.

  • In Assam, the updation of NRC could not be carried out since 1951 due to several political compulsions.

What is the procedure?

  • To apply for inclusion in the NRC, one’s name or one’s ancestor’s name must be in the 1951 NRC or in any voter list up to the midnight of March 24, 1971, the cut-off date agreed upon in the Assam
  • If the applicant’s name is not on any of these lists, he can produce any of the 12 other documents dated up to March 24, 1971, like land or tenancy record, citizenship certificate or permanent residential certificate or passport or court records or refugee registration March 25, 1971 is when the Bangladesh Liberation War began.
  • If the applicant’s ancestor’s name is on any of these lists, the applicant will have to prove his relationship to his ancestor by producing his board or university certificate, ration card or any other legally acceptable
  • An Indian citizen from another state who moved to Assam after the specified date is not eligible for inclusion in the NRC though he can continue to citizenship Act 1955:

According to citizenship act 1955

  • An illegal immigrant is defined as a person who enters India without a valid passport or stays in the country after the expiry of the visa permit.
  • An immigrant who uses false documents for the immigration process is also an illegal immigrant. In short, illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan will be imprisoned or deported.

Amendment in Citizenship Act 1995:

  • Proposed the law amends the original Citizenship Act of 1955.
  • It proposes that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be treated as illegal immigrants.
  • This is despite them having entered India without valid documents.
  • The amendments seek to include a separate column in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  • They will not face deportation as illegal immigrants under the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Foreigners Act of 1946.
  • The amendment shortens the period of residency from 12 years (mentioned in the Citizenship Act, 1955) to 7years, for gaining permanent citizenship by naturalization.
  • The Bill also empowers the government to cancel registration as OCI in case of any violation of the Citizenship Act or any other laws.
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