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Final Draft NRC Publication: Historic step to safeguard indigenous people

Left: NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, Centre: Registrar General of India Sailesh, Right: Joint Secretary, MHA (NE)- Satyendra Garg


* Names of around 40.07 lakh out of total applicants (3,29,91,384 ) have not been included in complete draft NRC. The draft consists of 2, 89, 83,677 applicants’ names.
* 2.48 lakh names of D voters, descendants of D voters, references pending at Foreigners Tribunals and descendants of the references pending at Foreigners Tribunals, who applied for NRC have been put on hold.
* Centre approves a total outlay of Rs 1,220 crore for the NRC project.


GUWAHATI, July 30: The decades-long issue of safeguarding identity and rights of indigenous people of Assam due to alarming illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals across the border on Monday inched towards a much-awaited pragmatic and concrete solution following publication of the complete draft updated NRC (National Register of Citizens).

The complete draft NRC consisting of names of 2, 89, 83,677 applicants was published at the office of State Coordinator of NRC here at 10 am on Monday in the presence of Registrar General of India (RGI) Sailesh, Joint Secretary (North East) in Union Home Ministry Satyendra Garg and State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela.

Altogether 3,29,91,384 persons submitted 68,31,330 applications in 2015 to enroll their names in the updated NRC. Around 40,07,707 out of total applicants (3,29,91,384 ) could not make their names included in the draft NRC. While 37,59,707 applicants were not found eligible for inclusion in the draft, names of 2.48 lakh D voters and their descendents have been put on hold.

“This is a historic day in the country and in Assam. It is a major milestone and the exercise was unparalleled in skill, size as well complex. It is a legal process done under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court and completely in a transparent, fair and objective manner,” RGI Sailesh said while addressing a packed press conference here on Monday morning after publication of the complete draft NRC.

Responding to questions on fates of people whose names did not appear in the complete draft, Sailesh said, “The process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28. Adequate and sufficient scope will be given to people for making claims to include their names in the final NRC. Since it is just the draft NRC no genuine Indian citizen should have any fear and worry for non-inclusion of their names.”

Sailesh also said since the claims and objection exercise will have to be carried out in a very meticulous and careful way, it is difficult to set deadline for publication of the final NRC at this moment. Asked about the reasons for excluding names of around 40 lakh applicants, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, said, “We are not going to make the reasons public. It will be informed individually. They can find the reasons by visiting the respective NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK).”

He, however, clarified that people belonging to four categories were not included in the draft as their eligibility were put on hold by the Supreme Court.

“These four categories are ‘D’ (doubtful) voters, descendants of ‘D’ voters, references pending at Foreigners Tribunals and descendants of the references pending at Foreigners Tribunals,” Hajela said, adding the number of such persons is around 2.48 lakh.

Without sharing further details, Hajela said there are names which were included in the first draft but have been deleted from the complete draft NRC. He said such applicants will be intimated through individual letters in the coming days.

When inquired if any person, who appeared in the complete draft, could be excluded from the final list once the process of claims and objections were over, Sailesh replied in the affirmative.

Talking about the status of people who were excluded from the draft NRC, Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary (North East) Satyendra Garg said, “We are not calling them Indians or non-Indians. At present, no action will be taken as the claims, objections and correction process has to be undertaken.”

The authorities will not forward any name to the Foreigners Tribunals on the basis of the complete draft and the government’s focus is to maintain peace and order in the society, Garg said.

Hajela admitted that some documents, which were sent for verification to other States, did not return and the NRC authorities had to device their own mechanism for confirming the details.

Responding to the question on the alleged mischievous and misinformation campaigns against the NRC, Sailesh said, “We have taken up this propaganda issue against NRC with the Centre. The government has informed the agencies concerned, which are taking necessary steps.”

The RGI said that the Centre had approved a total outlay of Rs 1,220 crore for the NRC. The groundwork for this mammoth exercise began in December 2013 and so far over 40 hearings have taken place in the Supreme Court in the last 3.5 years.

The process of filing applications started in May 2015 and altogether 6.56 crore documents were received from 68.31 lakh families across Assam. During the updating process of the NRC, a total of 62,614 people were involved, of which 52,038 were government employees.

Over 50 software applications were developed for the process by IT professionals, while 102 people in the NRC call centre received 10.68 lakh calls during the application phase. Sailesh immensely praised the sincerity and dedication of Hajela and his team to take the NRC update exercise to this stage.

A communiqué given to reporters during the press conference on Monday by the Office of the State Coordinator, NRC stated that starting from August 7, the applicants will be able to know the reasons for non-inclusion of their names in the complete draft NRC by visiting NSK and enquiring from the local registrar. All opportunity will be given to all claimants to establish their eligibility. Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of the claims and objections exercise can latter file appeal before the foreigners tribunals, the communiqué said.