Assam push to NRC update

Dispur submits documents to Delhi
Guwahati, May 9 : Dispur has submitted two pilot projects and standard operating procedures to New Delhi to kickstart the much-delayed process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
With this, the state government has overcome the last major hurdle in getting clearance from the Centre to start updating the register, a senior official at the state’s NRC secretariat here told this correspondent today.
The work is expected to start as soon as the Centre clears the standard operative procedures and the pilot projects. New Delhi has also proposed to amend the Citizenship Act rules exclusively for Assam.
The official said the pilot projects would be implemented in the revenue circle of Kamrup district and in one of Barpeta district.
This would cost the state exchequer Rs 2 crore, according to the estimate submitted to the Centre.
The NRC needs to be upgraded to resolve the long-pending issue of foreigners in the state and to check unabated infiltration from across the border.
According to the Assam Accord, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) had fixed March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for detecting and deporting foreigners while preparing the NRC.
The standard operative procedures explains how the state government proposes to upgrade the NRC and what would be the basis of the work. Dispur also submitted a list of documents that would be required to carry out the exercise.
Instead of a house-to-house enumeration, which is the standard procedure for upgrading the NRC across the country, in Assam the work will be carried out by inviting claims from direct descendants of those whose names figured in the 1951 National Register of Citizens or in the state’s electoral roll of 1971.
Assam Accord implementation minister Bhumidhar Barman said in case of a dispute over lineage, the government may even consider conducting DNA test, if feasible.
The Centre has agreed to amend Rule 4 of the Citizenship Act to allow the upgradation of the NRC by inviting claims, the official said.
Officials are hoping that the actual work will start in the two circles of Kamrup and Barpeta districts soon.
An official here said the work would start once the Centre gave clearance to the standard operative procedures and the two pilot projects. The Centre’s nod was being delayed because of the elections, he added.
“We are expecting to start the work immediately after the formation of the new government at the Centre,” he added.