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What Is CAA? What Are Its New Rules? Who Is Eligible To Apply?

CAA: Under the Citizenship Act of 1955, a foreigner can become an Indian citizen if they have lived in India for over 11 years. But the BJP government changed this law. Now, someone can become a citizen after living in India for just six years. This change happened because of an amendment to the law.

Specifically, before 2014, a bill was passed to grant citizenship to people who suffered religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. This means those who faced unfair treatment because of their religion could become Indian citizens.

Furthermore, the law states that individuals from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian communities can apply for citizenship even if they don’t have all the necessary documents. However, Muslims migrating from nearby countries aren’t eligible for Indian citizenship under this law. Additionally, the Act does not provide a way for Sri Lankan Tamils who have been residing as refugees in Tamil Nadu for a significant period to obtain citizenship.

This bill was introduced in 2019 and received majority support when it was passed in the Lok Sabha, which is one of the two houses of the Indian Parliament.

After receiving support from AIADMK MPs, the bill went through the Rajya Sabha and became law once the President gave it approval. However, Chief Ministers from states not governed by the BJP strongly objected to the Citizenship Amendment Act, which offers citizenship based on religion. This sparked intense protests, particularly in the northeastern states like Assam and Tripura.

Protest Burst Out


In the northeastern states, people began protesting because they feared that the influx of refugees from Bangladesh would result in the loss of their rights. They expressed concerns about the potential impact on their resources, culture, and identity due to the arrival of these refugees. These protests highlighted the deep-seated apprehensions among the local populations regarding the implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Protests broke out all over the country against the CAA, not only in the northeastern states. Despite this, the central government announced that the CAA law is now in effect nationwide. Alongside this announcement, the government released the official regulations for its implementation.

The Ministry of Home Affairs

The Ministry of Home Affairs has instructed that all applications for Indian citizenship must be submitted online. To facilitate this process, a website address has been provided for individuals to access and complete their applications digitally. This move aims to streamline the citizenship application process and ensure that it is accessible to all eligible individuals across the country.

The recent notification from the Central Government outlines who is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. Individuals of Indian descent or those married to an Indian citizen can apply. Also, children under 18 years old with Indian citizen parents are eligible. If one parent was an Indian citizen when India gained independence, the child is also considered eligible.

Furthermore, people of Indian origin and holders of OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Cards can apply for citizenship. According to the new rules, applicants need to provide two specific documents. An affidavit from an Indian citizen confirming the accuracy of the applicant’s details is required. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. These steps aim to ensure that applicants meet the necessary criteria for Indian citizenship.

After applying, it will undergo verification by a district-level committee led by a special officer chosen by the central government. Once the documents are verified, the application will be forwarded to the authorized committee of the state government for further processing. In each state, an Empowered Committee will oversee this process, headed by the Director of the Census Division.

Additionally, there will be a Centrally Empowered Committee responsible for reviewing the application and documents to ensure accuracy. If all the information provided is found to be correct, the applicant will be granted Indian citizenship. This multi-step process aims to carefully assess each application and ensure that only eligible individuals receive citizenship.

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