Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Rajya Sabha

  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha. Earlier, it was passed in Lok Sabha on December 9 after a long debate.
  • This bill has to be introduced in Rajya Sabha. The BJP has issued a whip for its Rajya Sabha MPs for December 10 and 11.

What is Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019?

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2019 will provide Indian citizenship to the six minority communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  • These six communities are – Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, Christian and Sikhs.
  • At present, it is mandatory for a person to stay here for at least 11 years to get citizenship of India.
  • The bill will reduce this period to six years. It will enable people from these communities to get Indian citizenship in six years.
  • It will make some amendments to the Citizenship Act 1955 to provide legal aid for citizenship.

About the bill:

  • The Union Cabinet approved the draft law on 4 December 2019, while it was passed by the Lok Sabha with 311 MPs voting in favour and 80 against the bill. It is likely to be passed by the Rajya Sabha on 11 December.
  • The bill was first introduced in 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, but was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis facing persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – but excludes Muslims.
  • The bill aims to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 31 December 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • It also seeks to relax the requirement of residence in India for citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to 5 years for these migrants.
  • The bill exempts the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution from its applicability.
  • These tribal areas include KarbiAnglong in Assam, Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Chakma district in Mizoram, and Tribal Areas district in Tripura.
  • It also excludes the areas regulated through the Inner Line Permit which includes Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
  • The bill includes new provisions for cancellation of the registration of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI). The criteria include OCI registration through fraud, imprisonment for two or more years within five years of OCI registration and when it’s a matter of India’s sovereignty and security.
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