The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens. At present, only Assam has such a register.
The exercise may be extended to other states as well. Nagaland is already creating a similar database known as the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants. The Centre is planning to create a National Population Register (NPR), which will contain demographic and biometric details of citizens.
What is NRC in Assam?
The NRC in Assam is basically a list of Indian citizens living in the state. The citizens’ register sets out to identify foreign nationals in the state that borders Bangladesh.
The process to update the register began following a Supreme Court order in 2013, with the state’s nearly 33 million people having to prove that they were Indian nationals prior to March 24, 1971.
The updated final NRC was released on August 31, with over 1.9 million applicants failing to make it to the list.
How does one prove citizenship?
In Assam, one of the basic criteria was that the names of applicant's family members should either be in the first NRC prepared in 1951 or in the electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971.
Other than that, applicants also had the option to present documents such as refugee registration certificate, birth certificate, LIC policy, land and tenancy records, citizenship certificate, passport, government issued licence or certificate, bank/post office accounts, permanent residential certificate, government employment certificate, educational certificate and court records.
What happens with the excluded individuals
"Non-inclusion of a person's name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared a foreigner," govt has said. Such individuals will have the option to present their case before foreigners' tribunals.
If one loses the case in the tribunal, the person can move the high court and, then, the Supreme Court.
In the case of Assam, the state government has clarified it will not detain any individual until he/she is declared a foreigner by the foreigners' tribunal.
What can people do if they cannot find legacy data
The government has set up NRC Seva Kendras in every district of Assam, which assist people in searching for Legacy Data, issuing of Legacy Data Code, and in receipt of NRC Application forms.
The 1951 NRC in Assam
NRC for Indian citizens in Assam was first created in 1951. Manipur and Tripura were also granted permission to create their own NRCs, but it never materialised. The reason behind the move was to identify Indian citizens in Assam amid "unabated" migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
The list comprised of those who lived in India on January 26, 1950, or were born in India or had parents who were born in India or had been living in India for at least five years before the January 26, 1950 cut-off.