NRC: An exercise in focus

The exercise to finalise the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is under tremendous focus as it is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants for their deportation.

The exercise is being carried out under the supervision of the Supreme Court which had sought publication of the final list by July 31. However, the government has sought more time to carry out the process with extra care so that no genuine Indian citizen is excluded and no illegal immigrant is included in it.

The NRC was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and is now being updated in Assam to include the names of those persons (or their descendants) that appear in the NRC, 1951, or in electoral rolls up to the midnight of 24th March, 1971. This also includes any admissible documents issued, which would prove or link their Assamese or Indian origin.

The updating of NRC began in 2013, when the Supreme Court of India issued orders in this regard.

Since then, the Supreme Court (bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi) has been monitoring the process.

The project is headed by the State Coordinator of National Registration, Assam, Prateek Hajela, under the strict monitoring of the apex court.

Eligibility for inclusion in the updated NRC

· Persons whose names appear in NRC, 1951.

· Persons whose names appear in any of the Electoral Rolls up to 24th March (midnight), 1971.

· Persons from the family of above.

· Persons who registered themselves with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) before March 25, 1971.

· Original inhabitants of Assam and their children and having a family tree. Provided their citizenship is ascertained.

· Foreigners’ tribunal to distinguish between original inhabitant and illegal immigrants. Voters can apply for inclusion of their names in the updated NRC.

· Persons with documents admissible for citizenship issued before March 25 1971.

· All members of the Tea Tribes shall be covered under ‘Original inhabitants of Assam’ category provided for under Clause 3(3) of the Schedule of The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

· All such original inhabitants shall be included on the basis of proof to the satisfaction of the Registering Authority.

Help desks, called NRC Seva Kendras, have been established in each district in the state, to aid and assist the public in enrolling themselves in the NRC update process ICT (Information Communication Technology).

Each NSK covers an approximate of 2,500 households and acts as epicentre for all the NRC activities starting from assisting the public in searching the Legacy Data, distribution of Application Form, receipt of Application Form, carrying