NEW DELHI, Dec 2 - In a significant development, the Centre on Wednesday said that it is toying with the proposal of empowering the select State Governments to grant citizenship.
�For easing the process of granting Indian citizenship, the Government of India is examining the proposal for delegating the powers to select State Governments,� said Minister of State Kiren Rijiju in reply to a question by Wansuk Syiem of Meghalaya.
The Centre is mulling to empower select States to scrutinize the requests for grant of citizenship following the surge in the number of Hindus from neighbouring countries applying for Indian citizenship, Rijiju said.
The Minister of State�s statement assumes significance in view of the Central Government�s notification relaxing the norms for the entry and stay of Hindu Bengalis who migrated from Bangladesh.
An official notification, issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday evening, said the Central Government has decided, on humanitarian considerations, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities there, who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014 from the relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946, in respect of their entry and stay in India, without such documents or after the expiry of those documents, as the case may be.
Rijiju said that according to records, about 2,390 citizenship requests are in process at various levels, including State Governments.
The Indian citizenship is granted under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and rules made thereunder. The power to grant Indian citizenship was delegated to the State governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat by Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2004 for a period of one year on February 28, 2007 in two spells, as a special case, he said.