Assam's NRC rejects await Aadhaar cards for over 2 yrs

Assam: Aadhaar card eludes NRC rejects more than two years after biometric collection

Many said their biometrics were collected two years ago but they are still awaiting Aadhaar cards. Credit: AFP File Photo

Khagen Saha is faced with twin problems — his name was left out of the final list of the NRC released in August 2019 and he has not yet received his Aadhaar card even as his biometrics were collected more than two years ago. 

With the process to clear names left out of the NRC on hold, the 54-year-old tea stall owner in Tangla of Assam's Darrang district is struggling to avail of benefits under government schemes due to the lack of an Aadhaar card. Biometrics of many like Saha were collected during the verification of documents submitted for enrollment in the NRC. But Aadhaar cards have not yet been issued. 

"My application for a house under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is pending as I don't have an Aadhaar card. Even the bank where I have an account is asking for an Aadhaar card repeatedly," Saha told DH

The Assam government, on December 20, informed the state assembly that biometric details of 27,43,396 persons were collected during the NRC exercise, as per an order of the Supreme Court. "The issue of collection of biometric details was included in Clause 9 of the SOP, which was prepared with the approval of the Supreme Court and the Central government. Those whose biometrics were collected has not yet been able to make their Aadhaar card," the state home department said in a written reply to questions posed by BJP MLA from Bijni, Ajoy Kumar Roy.

Also Read — Assam: Peasant leader's 'nationality' in doubt, claims government attempt to silence him

The MLA said that those whose biometrics were collected during the NRC exercise were facing problems in availing of benefits, such as ration card, job card verification and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is also in charge of the home department.

The Supreme Court monitored the NRC exercise, which was carried out to segregate Indian citizens from suspected foreigners illegally living in Assam. March 24, 1971, was the cut-off date for the NRC exercise. Over 19.06 lakh applicants were left out of the final list of the NRC and the process to clear their names is on hold since. 

The BJP-led government moved the Supreme Court seeking re-verification of 20 per cent of applications in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent in the rest of the districts. It argued that the final list of the NRC was not properly done and many foreigners made it to the list while genuine citizens were left out. The government has said that the process to clear the names of those left out of the NRC list would depend on the Supreme Court's orders. 

The home department's replies on December 20, however, said although the Aadhaar card is not mandatory for availing of benefits such as ration card, job card verification and PMAY in Assam, the government has taken the matter seriously. "Assam Chief Secretary has already written to union home secretary and Register General regarding the matter," it said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox