The Centre has given one month extension to complete the enumeration process for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by July 31, when the final list of the state's residents will be published.
In a notification, the Registrar General of India said the decision has been taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam's residents, could not be completed within the specified date of June 30.
"And whereas, the said enumeration in the state of Assam could not be completed within the period specified...the central government has considered it necessary and expedient in the public interest to complete the said enumeration in connection with the updation of the National Register of Citizens, 1951 by 31st day of July, 2019," the notification issued by Registrar General of Citizen Registration Vivek Joshi said.
On December 6, 2013, the government had issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. However, since then, six extensions were given by the government in regular intervals as the exercise has not yet been completed.
"Now, therefore, pursuant to the provisions of sub-rule (3) of rule 4A of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 and in supersession of the notification number S.O. 6329(E), dated December 26, 2018, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Registrar General of Citizen Registration, hereby, notifies that the enumeration in connection with the updation of the National Register of Citizens, 1951, in respect of the state of Assam shall be completed within the period ending on the 31st day of July, 2019," the notification said.
When the draft NRC was published on July 30 last year, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 4 million people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 29 million people out of the total 32.9 million applications. The names of over a lakh more people were also excluded in a list published last month.
The final list of the NRC will be published on July 31 this year.
The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.
When the NRC was first prepared in Assam in 1951, the state had 8 million citizens.
According to the 2011 census, Assam's total population is over 31.1 million. The process of identification of illegal immigrants in the state has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in the state politics.
A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union in 1979. It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.