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Guwahati
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

CAA, NRC Issues Return

India’s citizenship act was promulgated in 1955. Since then, the act was amended twice — first, in 2003, and the next in 2019. The amendment of 2003 mandated the creation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The 2019 amendment provided a fast track to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The 2003 amendment might be considered unnecessary since NRC was maintained even before the promulgation of the original citizenship act of 1955. The first NRC was prepared as early as 1951 as per India’s first census records.

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Politics and political parties seem to be playing a dangerous game over the controversy on housing an increasing number of illegal immigrants in India. The country is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous State within another two months or so as projected by the population division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Officially, India is the home of the world’s second most popular destination for illegal immigrants, after the United States. India’s citizenship act was promulgated in 1955. Since then, the act was amended twice — first, in 2003, and the next in 2019. The amendment of 2003 mandated the creation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The 2019 amendment provided a fast track to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The 2003 amendment might be considered unnecessary since NRC was maintained even before the promulgation of the original citizenship act of 1955. The first NRC was prepared as early as 1951 as per India’s first census records. However, for unknown reasons, NRC recording was not conducted after subsequent censuses.

No Government has been serious about containing the country’s population and continuously growing illegal immigrants, who eventually become citizens of India with the help of political touts. The 1951 census put India’s population at only 361 million. Today, the country’s population, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest UN data, is well over 1.412 billion, representing around 17.7 percent of the total world population. India’s population is set to rise to 1.515 billion in 2030. In contrast, China’s population is expected to shrink from 1.426 billion in 2022 to 1.416 billion in 2030. The world’s third largest country by total land area, China covers an area of around 9.6 million square kilometers, almost three times the size of India’s land mass of 3.287 million sq. km. India has been witnessing an unbridled population explosion. Unfortunately, neither the Government nor the political parties seem to be concerned about the illegal immigration issue. International records put India as the world’s second-largest home of illegal immigrants. They show that the country has been growing in popularity as an illegal migrant destination for people seeking refuge or a better life.

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To deal with the influx of immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, barriers are being constructed along the country’s eastern border. The Bangladesh-India border is around 4,100 kilometres long, making it the world’s fifth-longest land border. If the Citizenship Act of 1955 itself has failed to protect the country’s genuine demographical picture, there is no reason to fear that its three-year-old amended version, CAA or NRC will make much difference. Both NRC and CAA have failed to uphold their purposes. Assam is the only State where NRC was updated and published in August 2019. The register contained 31 million names out of the State’s population of 33 million, leaving out some 1.9 million applicants, rendering them potentially stateless. However, those outside the Assam NRC continue to live happily as the ruling BJP itself is not convinced with the NRC’s role. BJP believes the register had excluded many legitimate citizens while including a large number of illegal migrants. No action has been taken in the last three years. It is not expected either. However, vote bank-focused political debates on illegal immigrants drag on.

 

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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