‘NRC will only help in development of Assam’ 

Pranita Roy
Saturday, 11 August 2018

What is National Register of Citizens?

  • NRC was originally introduced in 1951 after first population census of independent India was published. It was supposed to include residents of Assam and descendants of 1951 list. The purpose of updating the list is to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who have entered the state after March 24, 1971. 
  • The first draft had mentioned 1.9 crore applicants in December 2017, while in the second draft which was released recently had excluded four million citizens. Among the 40 lakh, it is said that at least 20 lakh are Hindu names which have not found recognition in the draft.

Pune: The draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) has raised many eyebrows in Assam, after 40 lakh citizens who have been residing in that state, have been excluded from the list. 

Assamese people have approved and expressed their support towards NRC. Even city-based Assamese have stated that this will only help in the development of Assam as lakhs of immigrants have occupied the land in Assam which has been destructing the socio-economic progress of the state.

There are as many as 3,000 Assamese people residing in Pune. Out of which at least 1,000 are students, informed Rajib Borkataki, General Secretary of ASOMI, a cultural organisation of Assamese people in the city. Borkataki agreed that immigrants are not really taking away the employment as most of them work as labourers. 

“Locals do not want to work as labourers and these immigrants fill the place. But they had started living at the riverbeds and started farming. In this process, many started occupying major lands and many who have migrated after 1971, have become influential businessmen and stakeholders in the system. This is affecting the state’s economy and social welfare,” he said.

Speaking about whether Assamese people who have been living in Pune for decades face any kind of exclusion from the list of NRC, Borkataki said, “If not in the first draft, but after one or two drafts, the names are mentioned in the list. Most importantly, we have an advantage of language. There is a mechanism to include the names of those who have been residing away from Assam as well by identifying their legacy.”

Nayanmoni Bhagavati, Professor of economics in Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) had done a research on the migration of North-East students in other mainlands of the country. Referring to it, she said, “I had spoken to 150 students from Assam who gave the main reason to move out of the state was low education and employment in the state. It is necessary that those who own the lands and are actual residents of the state should get a chance to seek education and employment in the state. Nevertheless, identifying illegal immigrants who have been using the resource of the state will only help in developing the socio-economic condition of Assam.”

Many students go to other states to pursue professional courses like management, architecture, physical education, etc. Few also come to study English literature, fashion designing which are not easily available in Assam. While maximum are professionals who have come to seek employment, as IT culture has not yet been established in Assam.

“The entire process was politically motivated. Immigrants would be mobilised to gain votes for parties and once the government was formed, they would provide employment to them. Due to this, they would get settled in the state. It is good that now these illegal occupants will be recognised. It has been affecting the employment of those originally residing in Assam,” said Angel Bhattacharya, a mechanical engineer.

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