[Answered]Discuss the need and significance of a National Register for citizens in India? What are various concerns related to it?

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Discuss the need and significance of NRC being implemented at national level. Various related concerns.

Conclusion. Way forward.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a document containing the name of all Indian citizens of Assam. The purpose of NRC update is to identify Indian citizens of Assam, thus leading to identification of illegal migrants residing in Assam. The NRC is seen as a major instrument for security and peace of Assam and other north-eastern states. On similar lines it is said that there should be an NRC at national level. Whether such a register is needed and can be simulated as national level need to be examined thoroughly.

Need of NRC at national level:

  1. The influx  of  immigrants has led to security issues in the region and led to various conflicts in the region. The recent Bodo-Muslim violence in the BTAD has its root on the issue of illegal migration.
  2. Large areas of forest land were encroached upon by the immigrants for settlement and cultivation and thus need to be monitored.
  3. Due to the similar language spoken byillegal migrants, it becomes difficult to identify and deport the illegal migrant.
  4. The commission on integration andCohesion found that tension usually exist with the presence of high levels of migration combine with other forms of social exclusion like poverty, poor housing etc.
  5. Immigration has increased pressure on the part of government, as the government has to increase the expenditure on education and health facilities to the immigrants.
  6. There is a fear particularly during a recession that immigrants take jobs which would otherwise be taken by local people; in particular place and circumstances there  can  be  competition and conflict.
  7. Most of the immigrants have got their names enlisted in the voting list illegally, thereby claiming themselves as citizens of the state. The immigrant’s population act as a vote bank for the political parties in Assam.
  8. Pakistan’s ISI has been active in supporting militant movements. Among the illegal migrants there are also terrorists, who enter into India to carry out the terrorist activities.

Significance of NRC being implemented at national level:

  1. Ensure People’s Right: A national NRC will clear actual number of illegal migrants in Assam. It will prevent further illegal migration that will ensure rights of Indian citizens in a better way.
  2. Better policy measures and implementation: It will provide a verified database to implement targeted policies and calibrated policy measures for benefits of Indian citizens especially tribal people. This will weed out fake beneficiaries.
  3. Enhance internal security: It will enhance internal security of the nation by keeping a check on illegal migration. Illegal migration lead to terrorist threat, counterfeit money etc. endangering security of our nation.
  4. Prevent future illegal migration: Publication of an NRC at national level would deter future migrants illegally. The publication of the draft NRC has already created a perception that staying in Assam without valid documentation will attract detention/jail term and deportation.
  5. Will reduce fake voting: Illegal migrants will find it difficult to procure Indian identity documents. Thus cases of vote for money through fake identities will reduce as persons whose names are not in list will loose voting rights. Thus it will strengthen our electoral process.

Concerns related to National Register of Citizens being implemented at national level:

  1. Law and order problem: The implementation of NRC may lead to serious law and order problem in India and also in neighbouring states.
  2. Loss of Right to Vote: Right to vote is a constitutional right. People excluded from NRC would be barred from voting. Thus loosing right to vote.
  3. Fake Cases: There have been several cases of people having made fake official identity cards such as Aadhaar, PAN card, ration card and even voter’s identity card. This will legalise their illegal migration.
  4. Loss of Properties: The left out whose names are not in the list will not be able to buy land or a house in the country. It will increase selling of benami properties especially by those who loose their citizenship.
  5. Judicial burden will increase: Since such ‘non citizens’ will go to judiciary for relief to substantiate their citizenship claim. Thus it will lead to overburdening of judiciary which is already overburdened.

NRC exercise makes sense in Assam because in 1971 around 10 million people crossed over from Bangladesh to India and that caught the attention of authorities. However, there is no need to get into this kind of exercise at national level, as it can lead to unintended consequences.

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