National Register of Citizens

National Register of Citizens

News: Recently, the Manipur Assembly has resolved to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and establish a State Population Commission (SPC).

What is NRC?
• NRC is a register prepared in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
• The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently.
• It has been updated in Assam only for now and the government plans to update it nationally as well.
• The purpose is to separate ‘illegal’ immigrants from ‘legitimate’ residents.
• Registrar General and Census commissioner of India is the Nodal agency.

What prompted the Manipur assembly to think of implementing NRC?
• Significant increase in population of the state from 1971 to 2011.
• There is fear that there is strong possibility of a huge influx of non-Indians, especially Myanmar nationals primarily Kukis-Chin communities.
• The northeastern States have been paranoid about ‘outsiders’, ‘foreigners’ or ‘alien cultures’ swamping out their numerically weaker indigenous communities.
• Manipur, home to three major ethnic groups, is no different. These ethnic groups are the non-tribal Meitei people and the tribal Naga and Kuki-Zomi groups.
• There has been a history of conflict among these three groups, but the NRC issue has seemingly put the Meiteis and the Nagas on the same page. They claim that an NRC is necessary because the political crisis in neighbouring Myanmar, triggered by the military coup in February 2021, has forced hundreds of people into the State from across its 398-km international border.

What is the Inner-Line Permit (ILP) system?
• An Inner Line Permit is a document that allows an Indian citizen to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system. Initially, the ILP was applicable to three North-eastern states – Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.
• In December 2019, Manipur became the 4 th North-Eastern state to be brought under the ILP system.
• No Indian citizen can visit any of these states unless he or she belongs to that state, nor can he or she overstay beyond the period specified in the ILP.
• The concept comes from the colonial area. Under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, the British framed regulations restricting the entry and regulating the stay of outsiders in designated areas. This was to protect the Crown’s own commercial interests by preventing “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions. In 1950, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India”. This was to address local concerns about protecting the interests of the indigenous people from outsiders belonging to other Indian states.
• An ILP is issued by the state government concerned. It can be obtained after applying either online or physically. It states the dates of travel and also specifies the particular areas in the state which the ILP holder can travel to.

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