Having belled the CAT (The Common Admission Test) with high percentile, you should prepare to clear the next hurdle, the PI (personal interview) and WAT (written ability test) at which your knowledge about current happenings will be tested.
Among the literally ‘burning topics’ right now would be the countrywide protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
What MBA aspirants should know about CAA and NRC
What is Citizenship Amendment Act?
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, passed by the Parliament on December 11, 2019, amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to allow the grant of Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians subjected to persecution on religious grounds in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
However, it exempts certain areas in the North-East from this provision. The Act also changes certain provisions related to OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cardholders. A foreigner was allowed to register as an OCI under the 1955 Act if they are of Indian origin (e.g., a former citizen of India or their descendants) or the spouse of a person of Indian origin.
The OCI status entitled them to benefits such as the right to travel to India and to work and study in the country. Under provisions of the amended Act, the Government has powers to cancel OCI registration if the person has violated any of the laws notified by it.
The Citizenship Act, 1955 was enacted to regulate who may acquire Indian citizenship and on what grounds. A person may become an Indian citizen if they are born in India or have Indian parentage or have resided in the country for a period of time.
However, illegal migrants are prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship. An illegal migrant is defined as a foreigner who enters the country without valid travel documents like a passport and visa or enters with valid documents but stays beyond the permitted time period.
Such migrants would be imprisoned or deported under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. In 2015 and 2016, the central government issued two notifications exempting certain groups of illegal migrants from provisions of the 1946 and the 1920 Acts.
These groups are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014. This implies that these groups of illegal migrants will not be deported or imprisoned for being in India without valid documents.
In 2016, a Bill was introduced to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill sought to make illegal migrants belonging to these six religions and three countries eligible for citizenship and made some changes in the provisions on registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.
It was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which submitted its report on January 7, 2019. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019. However, it lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. Subsequently, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2019.
Protests Against CAA and NRC
Ever since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and the proposed all-India NRC, protests have erupted across India. Students from Jamia Millia and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi took to the streets leading to police action. Subsequently, violence during the protests and police action resulted in the death of several people and loss or damage to public property.
Meanwhile, in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, the protests are against CAA, as people feel that its implementation would facilitate refugees in large numbers from neighbouring Bangladesh get Indian citizenship.
Several political parties and citizen groups have approached the Supreme Court contending that the CAA was anti-constitutional. The apex court, while not ordering a stay, has asked the Centre to file a reply and fixed the next date of hearing on January 22.
Noting that there was confusion among the people about the Act, the Court asked the Centre to consider using the audio-visual medium for awareness creation. The pleas have been filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Indian Union Muslim League and others.
The Biju Janata Dal-ruled Odisha has joined the list of states to state that it will not allow the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state joining West Bengal, Kerala and Chhattisgarh. Even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has stated that he was not keen to allow NRC in Bihar. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP, has said that Muslims should have been included in the CAA. The BJD, JD (U), and SAD had voted in favour of the CAA in Parliament.
Why are People Protesting?
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah have stated that CAA would not affect any Indian citizen, the opposition parties see it as a move to polarise the society as the amendment covers only the minority people in three countries. The Muslim minorities in a Sinhala majority country like Sri Lanka or the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.
The protestors also fear that the CAA in conjunction with the proposed updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a register maintained by the Government of India containing names and certain relevant information for identification of all genuine Indian citizens, would be used as a tool to deny citizenship to Muslims. In this case, also, the government has clarified that there is no such immediate move on its part.
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