Centre gives 6-month extension to complete update of NRC in Assam by June 30

The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.

In a notification, the Registrar General of India said the decision has been taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.

The decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.

On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.

Why is NRC being updated in Assam?

Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh. The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).

There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date.

Who is a citizen in Assam?

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was amended after the Assam Accord for all Indian-origin people who came from Bangladesh before January 1, 1966, to be deemed as citizens. Those who came between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, were eligible for citizenship after registering and living in the State for 10 years while those entering after March 25, 1971, were to be deported.

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