Who will benefit from the new CAA Rules?

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024. 

What is CAA?

  • The notification enabled the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) that was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, which, for the first time, allows citizenship on the basis of religion. 
  • It amended the Citizenship Amendment Act 1955, making two key changes to facilitate citizenship for undocumented migrants belonging to six non-Muslim communities—Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan—who entered India on or before December 31, 2014
    • The Act reduces the period to qualify for citizenship from the existing 11 years to 5 years.

What do the rules say?

  • The Rules specify several documents that must be uploaded to an online portal, https://indiancitizenshiponline.nic.in/, before the application can be processed. 
  • Providing details of passport and visa is optional, but a document issued by a government authority in the three countries - 
    • One document issued by Indian authorities. 
    • A sworn affidavit declaring the country of origin and date of entry in India.
    • An eligibility certificate issued by a locally reputed community institution certifying that a person follows one of the six faiths is mandatory.
  • The ministry has specified the following nine documents to prove that the applicant belongs to the three countries
    • copy of the passport, 
    • birth certificate, 
    • school or educational certificate, 
    • any identity document, 
    • licence, 
    • land or tenancy records issued by the government of Afghanistan or Bangladesh, or Pakistan, 
    • any document that shows that either of the parents or grandparents or great grandparents of the applicant is or had been a citizen of one of the three countries or 
    • registration certificate or residential permit issued by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) in India.
  • The applicant must upload any of the 20 listed documents, such as Aadhar, PAN card, electricity bill, and marriage certificate, to prove entry in India before December 31, 2014.

What are the implications of the CAA in different states?

  • A large number of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India through legal means but find that their documents like visas and passports have expired stand to gain from the CAA as it reduces the waiting period to avail citizenship to five years. 
    • However, they were anyway eligible for citizenship under Section 5 and Section 6 (1) of the Citizenship Act 1955.  
  • Most Pakistani Hindus and Sikhs came here on long-term or pilgrim visas (LTV) visas. 
    • The LTVs given for five years are a precursor to citizenship. 
  • Hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs came to India, claiming religious persecution in Pakistan in 2010. 
    • They are mostly concentrated in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.
  • In West Bengal, a section of the Matua sect comprises Hindu Namasudras who had migrated from Bangladesh (earlier East Pakistan). 
  • Assam is the only state where a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was compiled in 2019 based on the directions of the Supreme Court. 
    • Over 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the list, which took five years to compile and cost ₹1,220 crore. 
    • The Hindus, excluded from NRC and who stand to benefit from the CAA, may be reluctant to apply.

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