The confusion over the status of the Assam NRC
GS 2, Population and Associated Issues.


  • The NRC arose from the first census conducted by independent India in 1951, which involved the transfer of data from Census slips.
  • Although all states were required to create an NRC, only Assam did so.
  • The goal of such an endeavour in Assam was to create a village-based inventory of people in light of the State’s then-undivided opposition to housing post-Partition refugees.

The National Registration of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens established by the Citizenship Act, 1955 modification of 2003. Its goal is to document all of India’s lawful citizens so that illegal immigrants can be discovered and removed.

It was first deployed in the state of Assam in 2013–2014.

The Indian government declared intentions to roll it out to the rest of the country in 2021, but it has yet to be implemented.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2003 (also known as “Act 6 of 2004”) amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 by adding the following clause:

14A. Issuance of national identification cards.

  1. The Central Government may compulsorily register every Indian citizen and give him a national identity card.
  2. The Central Government may keep a National Register of Indian Citizens and create a National Registration Authority for that purpose.
  3. On and after the effective date of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, the Registrar General of India, appointed under subsection (1) of section 3 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 (18 of 1969), shall act as the National Registration Authority and the Registrar General of Citizen Registration.
  4. The Central Government may appoint additional officers and employees to assist the Registrar General of Citizen Registration in carrying out his tasks and responsibilities.
  5. The method to be followed in the compulsory registration of Indian citizens should be as stipulated.

Demand for NRC:

  • The indigenous people’s concern of being overwhelmed by “illegal immigrants” during and after the 1971 Bangladesh War sparked the Assam Agitation, which lasted from 1979 to 1985.
  • During the protest, the demand for revising the 1951 NRC to evict foreigners from Assam was voiced. The Assam Accord, signed in August 1985, put a stop to the agitation.
  • The deadline for identifying, arresting, and deporting foreigners was March 24, 1971, the eve of the Bangladesh War.
  • This date was integrated into the NRC updating process, which began in 2014 and was overseen by the Supreme Court. People identified in the 1951 NRC and their descendants were rather easily included in the final NRC draught, which was released on August 31, 2019.
  • Out of the 3.3 crore, this draught excluded 19.06 lakh.

1951 NRC in Assam:

  • The NRC for Indian citizens in Assam was established in 1951. Manipur and Tripura were also given authority to establish their own NRCs, but this never happened. The action was made in order to identify Indian nationals in Assam amid “unabated” migration from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
  • The list included persons who resided in India on January 26, 1950, were born in India, had parents born in India, or had lived in India for at least five years prior to the January 26, 1950 cut-off date.

1985 Assam Accord:

To bring peace to the state, the All Assam Students Union (AASU), the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, and the then-Central Government led by Rajiv Gandhi signed the Assam Accord in 1985.

The Assam Accord included the following provisions:

  • Any foreigner who arrived in Assam between 1951 and 1961 would be granted full citizenship, including the ability to vote.
  • Foreigners who arrived in Assam between 1961 and 1971 would be granted full citizenship except for the ability to vote, which will be withheld for ten years, and those who arrived after 1971 will be deported.

Why is the NRC required?

The National Registration of Citizens (NRC) is a register of all Indian citizens established by the Citizenship Act, 1955 modification of 2003. Its goal is to document all of India’s lawful citizens so that illegal immigrants can be discovered and removed.

Issues with the countrywide implementation of the National Register of Citizens:

  • Law and order issue: The implementation of the NRC may result in major law and order issues in India and neighbouring states.
  • Loss of Voting Rights: The right to vote is a constitutional right. People who are not members of the NRC will be unable to vote. As a result, the right to vote is lost.
  • False Cases: There have been multiple reports of people fabricating fake government identification cards such as Aadhaar, PAN cards, ration cards, and even voter identification cards. This will make their unlawful migration legal.
  • Property Loss: Those whose names are not on the list will be unable to purchase land or a home in the country. It will boost the sale of benami properties, particularly by persons who have lost their citizenship.
  • Increased judicial burden: Because such ‘non citizens’ may seek judicial remedies to establish their citizenship claim. As a result, the already overloaded judiciary would be further taxed.

National Population Register (NPR):
The National Population Register (NPR) is a list of everyone who lives in India, both citizens and non-citizens. According to the document, “the NPR is the first step toward the development of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) by validating the citizenship status of every habitual resident.”

  • Residents of a community who have lived there for at least six months and intend to stay for another six months or longer are included in the NPR list.
  • It is written in accordance with the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules of 2003.
  • Local (village/sub-town), sub-district, district, state, and national levels are all listed. Every “usual resident of India” must register with the NPR.
  • The Citizenship Rules, 2003 provide that the centre can issue an order to produce the NPR and generate the NRC based on the information acquired in the NPR.
  • According to the 2003 Citizenship laws, local officials would next determine whether or not the person’s name should be added to the NRC, determining his citizenship status. There are no new regulations or legislation required to carry out this process throughout India.

NRC Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the NRC, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Any individual whose name appeared in the NRC of 1972 or any of the Electoral Rolls until March 24, 1971 (midnight), as well as their descendants.
  • Persons who have registered themselves with the Foreigners Registration Regional Officer (FRRO) in accordance with Central Government guidelines and are not regarded illegal migrants or foreigners by any authority.
  • Anyone who arrived in Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971.
  • People who are Assamese natives, as well as their offspring and descendants, who are Indian citizens, if their citizenship is proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the registering authorities.
  • Persons who can submit any of the documents included in the list of documents eligible for citizenship issued up to midnight on March 24, 1971.

Difference between NRC and CAB bills:

  • CAB will offer non-Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan citizenship.
  • NRC Assam’s mission was to detect ‘illegal immigrants,’ largely from Bangladesh. Religious minorities who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 will be granted citizenship by CAB.

According to the Citizenship Act of 1955, every individual born in India:

  1. On or after the 26th of January 1950, but before July 1st, 1987;
  2. Born on or after July 1, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, and either of his parents is an Indian citizen at the time of his birth;
  3. On or after the effective date of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, in which-

-both of his parents are Indian citizens; or

– a citizen of India by birth if one of his parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.


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