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Home / India News / 10 million people likely to benefit from bill: Sarma

10 million people likely to benefit from bill: Sarma

That number is likely to include some of the 1.9 million residents of the state who do not find their names in Assam’s National Register of Citizens.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2019 00:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Guwahati: Union Home Minister and Chairman North Eastern Council (NEC) Amit Shah with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma arrives to attend the 68th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) at Assam Administrative Staff College, in Guwahati.
Guwahati: Union Home Minister and Chairman North Eastern Council (NEC) Amit Shah with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma arrives to attend the 68th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) at Assam Administrative Staff College, in Guwahati.(PTI)
         

How many people are likely to benefit from the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, once Parliament passes it?

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but, Himanta Biswa Sarma, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party minister in Assam said that around 10 million or 1 crore people would benefit from the change in the law.

That number is likely to include some of the 1.9 million residents of the state who do not find their names in Assam’s National Register of Citizens.

Interestingly, many people who are the targeted beneficiaries of the scheme — non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring countries forced to take refuge in India — have thus far not pushed for citizenship on this count, although some may have already obtained citizenship through other routes according to the Intelligence Bureau.

In October 2016, the Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) told a Joint Parliamentary Committee that , “there are 31,313 persons belonging to minority communities who have been given long term visa on the basis of their claim of religious persecution in their respective countries and want Indian Citizenship”. He was testifying before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was tabled in January. He also told the Joint Parliamentary Committee that of the 31,313 people on Long Term Visa’s 25447 were Hindus, 5807 were Sikhs, 55 Christians, 2 Buddhists and 2 Parsis.

But the real number could be much higher, he added.

Many more would have already “taken citizenship by various means.” The DIB added that “they might have obtained passport, ration card. All other documents they might have obtained and they might have already registered themselves in the voter’s list. So, for all practical purposes, they are already citizens of this country. The bill is for those who have applied and who have claimed that they have been persecuted in their respective country.”