NRC in Assam: Demographic Duplication

Demographic Duplication

Every civilized country has a reliable list of its citizens. There are countries that go in for more than one enumeration of citizens for different objectives. But this is a highly expensive process. Most countries have, therefore, discovered the virtue of having an updated list of citizens that enables the authorities to keep a tab on its citizens as citizens and as voters. What is happening in Assam is that we now have a fairly reliable list of Indian citizens living in Assam. But it is not yet possible to talk about an absolutely reliable list of Indian citizens living in Assam, because despite all the care said to have gone into the preparation of a flawless NRC, there have been quite a few instances of the names of Bangladeshi nationals being included in the NRC. This is unfortunate, because we have been making tall claims of having produced an updated NRC that is totally free of the names of foreign nationals. This is perhaps the best time to raise the obvious question as to why the same enumeration cannot serve the purpose of having a comprehensive voters’ list as well as a list of citizens for other objectives in a poor country. In any case, it is reassuring to have the Election Commission assuring us on Wednesday that a person’s name being dropped from the NRC in Assam does not automatically cause his/her disfranchisement.