Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Aug 2018 10:58:07

SOMETHING welcome is happening. Assam has just completed the process of making the National Register of Citizens (NRC) thereby listing all legitimate citizens of the State. The process has led to omission of as many as 40 lakh people from the list because they were found wanting in one of the categories. Quite a noise is being made against the omission and a lot of politics, too, would be woven around the issue. Of course, when such a massive project is undertaken, there is bound to be some or the other issue crying for attention. There is every reason to believe that the Government will be able to take care of all issues of the residual persons left out of the list. Those who do not fulfill the norms, no doubt, will have to get out of the country. This process will certainly help in cleansing of the population of illegal foreign nationals who have come to enjoy all benefits of Indian citizenship without being ones. The NRC will help that process, which is a very welcome possibility. 

Of course, many political parties are engaged in playing political games around the NRC. West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has gone to the extent of stressing that all of the omitted 40 lakh-plus people would be taken in West Bengal officially. Obviously, the woman is trying to beef up her sagging political fortunes by inviting those omitted people into her State so that her vote-bank becomes fatter. Other parties, too, are chipping in by adding their share to the overall trouble on this count. Naturally, there is going to a lot of problem in the immediate future as regards the NRC.

But whatever various political parties in the Opposition camp are doing is unfortunate and not in the best interest of the nation. The NRC is one document that provides a final register listing all legitimate citizens of India. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), therefore, has promised that it would implement the NRC project all over the country. In fact, this should have been done way back in 1951, but the successive Governments since then have only ducked the issue. Obviously, they had a hidden agenda of adding pliable population that would ultimately vote for them. That such a thing is threatening to take place, is nothing but most unfortunate for the country.

The problem in Assam has been very peculiar. A Governor of Assam, who was formerly an Army Chief, had filed a detailed status report on the legitimate citizenry of the State and the illegitimate occupants of the country. According to the reported details of that report, at least the population good enough for a small town got added to Assam. The honourable Governor had urged the Centre to do something in that regard so as to stem the process of illegal addition to the number of people in India. Unfortunately, that report did not get appropriate response from the Government at the Centre and also in the State. In fact, it is that report that made the authorities feel the need to revive the concept of NRC. Obviously, the NRC is in the best interest of India in regard to curtailment of illegal population.

No matter the politics around the concept, no matter what a few vested interests have something to say, the Government must not budge from its implementation. Mistakes in the NRC can be corrected, but the project should never, never be shelved. For, once the Government knows that there are countless foreign nationals illegally living in India, it can proceed with strict cleansing process, which is a genuine national need. The NRC, thus, is a national need and must be pursued by the Government relentlessly. There may be some political fallout of the move, yet its negative impact would not rob the ruling party of its control of Government. The Government, perhaps, will do well to take into confidence the Opposition leadership for this good project.