GUWAHATI, Dec 25 � The process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951 will be delayed again as the Central Government is yet to clear the fresh proposal sent by the State Government in this regard. Meanwhile, the high level committee constituted by the Government to recommend measures to improve guarding of the international riverine border with Bangladesh, is likely to submit its report in March.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that following an incident of violence in Barpeta in 2010 during the process of implementing the pilot project for updating the NRC, the Government suspended the project and formed a group of Ministers (GOM) to look into the matter. The GOM, after series of discussions with various parties and organizations, submitted its recommendations with a new guideline for updating the NRC and that was passed by the State Cabinet.
The new guidelines were sent to the Government of India for its approval, but till date, the Centre�s nod has not been received. The Centre has raised a few queries on the new guidelines and the State Government has not yet been able to submit it. The entire process will now be delayed as after the State Government replies to the queries, the Centre will again go through it and only if they are found satisfactory, the go ahead can be given to formally start the process.
It may be mentioned here that the decision to update the NRC was taken in a tripartite meeting involving Central and State Governments and the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) on May 5, 2005. In that meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, a decision was taken to complete the process of updating the NRC within two years.
Meanwhile, the high level committee, headed by additional Chief Secretary PK Choudhury, is looking into the matter of protecting the international riverine border. The committee, which also includes experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), is likely to submit its report within March.
However, it is still not decided whether the recommendations of the committee will be implemented by the Central or State Government. It is the responsibility of the Central Government to guard the international border, but official sources said that under special circumstances, the State Government can also share the responsibility. Such matters will be discussed only after receiving the report of the committee.