influx of illegal immigrants Current Affairs - 2020

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Kerala: the first state to pass anti-CAA resolution

The Kerala Government on December 31, 2019, passed a resolution to rollback the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that was passed during this winter session of Parliament. According to the Kerala Government, the CAA act contradicts the basic principles of Constitution.

Highlights

According to the Government of Kerala, the act was against secularism and has triggered widespread protests in the country. The act also dented India’s image among the International community

The act and the issue

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed in December 2019. The act amended Citizenship act passed in 1955. It allows Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsi religious minorities to gain Indian citizenship. It also includes the minorities who have fled from countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The issue around the act is that it does not include Muslims.

The Citizenship (Amendment) bill was introduced in 2016.

Concerns of North East

Though the ongoing protests in the country is predominantly against its non-secular feature, North Eastern states are against the overall act.  The north-eastern citizens, especially Assam, fear that the act will grant citizenship to immigrants and refugees causing loss of their political, cultural and land rights. This will also motivate further immigration from Bangladesh.

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Proposal to revive National Register of Indian Citizens Project

The Central Government is actively considering the proposal to revive the National Register of Indian Citizens project as part of its efforts to identify and deport the illegal immigrants from the Country.

National Register of Indian Citizens

The Department of the National Population Register (NPR) under the Registrar General of India would be tasked with the responsibility to prepare the National Register of Indian Citizens. The department would prepare two databases, one National Register of Indian Citizens and the rest would become National Register of Residents.

The idea of creating National Register of Indian Citizens was first floated during the regime of NDA 1 with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as PM to contain the influx of illegal immigrants.

The Group of Ministers’ (GoM) report after the Kargil war had recommended the government to identify citizens and non-citizens, and providing both different identity cards. The committee had recommended to implement it in border districts, or maybe in a 20-kilometre border belt in first phase and then to expand it gradually all over the country.

Even a pilot project Multi-Purpose National Identity Cards (MPNIC) to citizens was also undertaken during NDA 1. But the proposal got abandoned with the change of government in 2004.

The National Register of Indian Citizens project has now got a push after the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam is heading towards conclusion.

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