Assam on Sunday midnight greeted the New Year with the publication of the much-awaited first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which includes names of 1.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants in the state recognising them as legal citizens of India.
Making the draft public here at midnight, Registrar General of India Sailesh said the rest of the names are under various stages of verification.
“This is a part draft. It contains 1.9 crore persons, who have been verified till now. The rest of the names are under various stages of verification. As soon as the verification is done, we will come out with another draft,” he told reporters here.
NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said those people whose names have been excluded in the first list need not worry.
“It is a tedious process to verify the names. So there is a possibility that some names within a single family may not be there in the first draft,” said Hajela adding, “There is no need to panic as rest of the documents are under verification.”
Asked about the possible timeframe for the next draft, the RGI said it will be decided as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court — under whose monitoring the document is being prepared — in its next hearing in April. The entire process will be completed within 2018, said the RGI.
The application process started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.
“The process of accepting complaints will start once the final draft is published as rest of the names are likely to appear in that,” Hajela said.
People can check their names in the first draft at NRC sewa kendras across Assam from 8 am on January 1. They can also check for information online and through SMS services.
The exercise to update the NRC is being carried out in Assam following a decision in 2005 after a series of meetings between the central and state governments and the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in an attempt to document citizens living in the state legally.
Assam, which has faced an influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.
The RGI informed that the ground work for this mammoth exercise began in December 2013 and 40 hearings have taken place in the Supreme Court over the last three years.