Citizenship act : Evaluating the identity and persona of a nation.

India is so much oriented towards the campaigning of brotherhood among its citizens which is warmly welcomed. Surely it is the most common and important sign of development and growth of a nation.

Citizenship act : Evaluating the identity and persona of a nation.

Basic Introduction: The identity of a person is credited by one's nation which provides them the certificate of living in their domicile. This is what has originated the term citizenship which is meant to differentiate between citizens and non-citizens. Well, it is very hectic and tedious to recognize every individual in the country. Also, this is the most debatable topic of the parliament where every authority has different opinions.

How the concept of Citizenship arrived:  The Citizenship Act came into force in 1955 and it was needed to establish the correlation between citizens residing in the country and foreigners who are willing to stay in India for some reason. It was meant to justify the identity of people who were living in this country before and after the partition and those who had migrated after some time. Article 5 to 11 discusses the procedure and demands to get citizenship in India. But the most controversial factor is illegal migrants who reside at the border of our country and live without any identity and use the land and resources of our country which belongs to Indian citizens. To overcome this issue parliament passed an act which was the Amendment of Citizenship Act 1955 in 1985. This amended act was in line with the Assam accord which was signed between the government of India and Assam protestors to filter out the illegal migrants from east Pakistan now Bangladesh. The Citizenship Amendment Bill [CAA Bill] was first introduced in 2016 in Lok Sabha which was meant to amend the 1955 Act.


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Classification of protocols mandated for Indian Citizenship: By birth: a person who is born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, will be considered a national citizen irrespective of the nationality of parents.

By descent: a person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before December 10, 1992, is a citizen of India by descent if his father was a citizen of India at the time of his birth.

By registration: the central government can provide registration if essential conditions are fulfilled.

By naturalization: subject to essential requirements.

By incorporation of territory.

Some special provisions for Assam people: a person who came to Assam before January 1, 1966 from Bangladesh. But before March 25, 1971, also detected as a foreigner for 10 years, would be accorded citizenship.

Has the Act been amended before?

This citizenship act has been amended five times with several variations. In 2002 a high-level committee on the Indian diaspora, under the chairmanship of LM  was constituted. It recommended the amendment of the Citizenship Act 1955 to provide for the grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin (PIOs) belonging to certain specified countries.

Again in 2015, it was modified with the provision about the OCI in the principal act while introducing a new scheme called Overseas Citizen of India. Till 2019, the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir was based on article 35- A  which was specially confined to Jammu and Kashmir residents. In 2019 article 370 of the constitution which had special status to Jammu and Kashmir was abolished and it was declared union territory by the government of India. It must be noted that our constitution forbids dual citizenship, so a person should have either Indian or foreign citizenship.



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What is the role of other non-citizens residing illegally, is it meant to be bothered about or not?

Now there are also some more points to discuss, likewise refugees and foreign migrants who are continuing to reside in our country for longer periods. Many people from eastern Bangladesh and Myanmar are not considered to be part of their territory and are not allowed to utilize their resources which most often force them to migrate. But residing illegally around borders is a point of question. Many times outsiders cross the borders without any ID proof and are detained by authorities which makes their lives worse. Also, it is not clear if the person is the perpetrator or terrorist which can be hazardous for our nation's security. But refugees who are living on the outskirts of borders are not getting enough resources and land, making their lives hell. Therefore it is very much obvious to discuss this issue in parliament so that a good enough solution can be provided.

Basic conditions pertained in the Act:

This Citizenship Act 2019 amendment was based on providing citizenship to persecuted minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jain, Parsis, and Christians who were residing in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. However, it was strongly condemned by many people for the discrimination against Muslim minorities. This was not enough as the agitation proceeded by introducing the NRC (National Register of Citizens) which was based on listing out the illegal migrants and foreigners from Assam. It was recommended by the government of India that NRC will be implemented for the whole country but it is under consideration. Well, it is the basic thing that can be understood that implementation of CAA and NRC will bring only catastrophic results for our nation's safety.

What can be the initiative measures to cure this?

The government should plan the rules and policies according to the provision of all living communities so that no one should be cornered. It is acceptable that people who do not have any identity for their existence are not citizens of this country but there should be some other methodologies to counter this problem rather than declaring them aliens and deporting them because they are already not acceptable in their respective countries. Refugees are already living their lives in hell so it is important to take some steps to control this migration gradually without anything in a rush which can ultimately ruin someone's life.

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