Over 6 lakh people gave up Indian citizenship for those of other countries between 2017 and 30 September 2021, the government informed the parliament today.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said while 1.33 lakh Indians had given up citizenship in 2017, the number stood at 1.34 lakh in 2018, 1.44 lakh in 2019, 85,248 in 2020 and 1.11 lakh in 2021, till 30 September.
Data of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) show that a total of 1,33,83,718 Indian nationals are living in foreign countries as of now, Rai said.
Rai said that 4,177 people were granted Indian citizenship between 2016 and 2020. A total of 10,645 people had applied for it in the same period, he said. Out of these people, the maximum is from Pakistan (7,782), followed by Afghanistan (795), the US (227), Sri Lanka (205), Bangladesh (184), Nepal (167) and Kenya (185).
The MHA data say that a total of 2,262 people applied for Indian citizenship in 2016, while the figure stood at 855 in 2017, 1,758 in 2018, 4,224 in 2019 and 1,546 in 2020.
Rai told the lower house that people eligible under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) might apply for citizenship after the notification of the rules.
The CAA seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities in the Muslim-majority neighbourhood countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Although the CAA was notified on 12 December 2019 and came into force on 10 January 2020, it is yet to become operational because the rules have not been notified.
NRC still hanging fire
In his reply, the minister reiterated that the government had not taken any decision to prepare the National Register of Citizens (NRC) — an initiative that the bureaucratic system messed up in Assam — at the national level.
On 20 November 2019, during a debate on the then Citizenship Amendment Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that a nationwide NRC was in the works. The following month, PM Narendra Modi said his government or Parliament haven’t discussed the NRC. “There are no talks about it at all,” he added.
The parliamentary passage of the CAA in 2019 had sparked protests by lumpen elements and propagandists who portrayed the government’s effort to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities of the three countries mentioned above as a bid to snatch away the citizenship of Muslims.