NRC on priority in infiltration-affected areas: Kovind

NRC on priority in infiltration-affected areas: Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind addresses a joint session of Parliament, in New Delhi (PTI Photo)

With West Bengal apparently in mind, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said the government has decided to implement the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) on "priority basis in areas affected by infiltration".

Emphasising that illegal infiltrators pose a major threat to internal security, the President said that it was leading to a social imbalance in many parts of the country, as well as putting huge pressure on limited livelihood opportunities.

"My Government has decided to implement the process of National Register of Citizens on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration. Security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration," he said in an address to the joint sitting of Parliament.

"While on the one hand, the Government is working to identify the infiltrators, on the other, it is also fully committed to protecting the victims of persecution due to their faith. In this regard, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities," he added.

The BJP had promised to extend NRC in a phased manner across the country in its manifesto and its specific mention in the Presidential address is seen as the party's intention to conduct such an exercise in West Bengal where it is at loggerheads with ruling Trinamool Congress.

During Lok Sabha campaign, BJP leaders had repeatedly said that they would conduct NRC in Bengal to weed out infiltrators.

He said "New India" will be sensitive and also, economically prosperous but for this to happen, nation’s security is of utmost importance. "My Government accords topmost priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle Terrorism and Naxalism," he said adding that India has amply demonstrated her intent and capabilities, through surgical strikes and air strikes after the Pulwama attack.

On Jammu and Kashmir, he said the government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment for all residents.

"The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts. My Government is committed to taking all necessary steps for the development of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

He said the government is also "resolutely" working to eradicate the menace of Naxalism and "considerable success" has been achieved in this direction during the last five years.

The area affected by Naxalism is reducing continuously. In the coming years, development projects will be expedited in these areas, which will benefit our tribal brothers and sisters residing there, he added.

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