According to Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, the central government has empowered 31 district magistrates in nine states to grant citizenship to people from minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh under the Citizenship Act.
Shri Rai said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today that the purpose of delegation of this power is to expedite the disposal of citizenship applications of such foreigners, as the decision can now be taken at the district level itself after examining each case.
He said that these districts have been selected keeping in view the needs of the applicants.
“The Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in exercise of its power to grant citizenship by registration under section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and by naturalization under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, have been handed over to the Collectors of 31 districts. … for expeditious disposal of citizenship applications of persons belonging to minority communities, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh,” Mr Rai said.
31 districts are in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.
The move to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and not the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) is significant.
The CAA also provides for Indian citizenship to these non-Muslims coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, the rules under the CAA have not yet been framed by the government and hence no one has been granted Indian citizenship under it so far.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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