People left out of NRC in Assam spent Rs 7,836 crore for hearings: Rights body survey

It also said that hundreds of thousands of people are staring at extreme poverty, hunger and imprisonment in the detention camps as each person shall have to file appeal before Foreigners’ Tribunals.

Published: 27th August 2019 07:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2019 07:10 PM   |  A+A-

People check their names on the final draft of Assam's National Register of Citizens after it was released at a NRC Seva Kendra Hatigaon in Guwahati (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI:  The survey of a human rights organisation has found that those excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam spent about Rs 7,836 crore for NRC hearings and many have been so economically crippled that they will not be able to challenge their exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals.

Releasing its report “The Economic Cost of Draft NRC: Poor Made Extremely Poor”, the “Rights and Risks Analysis Group” said as per the survey conducted in Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup districts, 62 respondents were able to quantify the expenditure incurred for attending hearings before NRC authorities and they claimed to have spent a total of Rs11,82,000 or an average of Rs19,065 per person.

“If Rs19,065 has been spent by each person excluded from the NRC on an average, it implies that a total of Rs.78,360,371,985 spent by 41,10,169 persons excluded from the draft NRC at present,” director of the rights body, Suhas Chakma, said.

“The per capita income of Assam during 2018 was Rs 67,620 as per the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. If Rs19,065 has been spent for the NRC hearings by each excluded person, it implies that their per capita income had been effectively reduced to Rs.48,555 or about US$ 700 which is at par with Central African Republic, the civil war-ridden country with the lowest per capita income in the world, just above Somalia,” he said.

Chakma said the World Bank in its report “Assam: Poverty, Growth & Inequality” of June 20, 2017 had stated that Assam not only lagged behind most Indian states in economic growth but “poverty reduction has been the slowest in Assam after 2005 and that the incidence of poverty in Assam remained higher than the national average, with poverty levels being very high in some parts of the state”.

“The NRC has excluded 41,10,169 persons, who constitute about 13% of the 31 million population of the state and are overwhelmingly below the poverty line. Many had to mortgage agricultural lands, sell their cattle/livestock and agricultural products, their only means of income like auto-rickshaw while many took loans to meet the expenses for the NRC hearings,” the report said.

Explaining the reasons for the high expenses, the report stated every person excluded had to spend more money because when a person from the family is excluded from the draft NRC, it is not only the excluded person who has to attend the NRC hearings but all the adult members of the family or blood relatives who are otherwise included in the draft NRC have to accompany the excluded member as witnesses before the NRC authorities. 

“The expenses multiply because the excluded person has to be present himself or herself along with witnesses for multiple times before the NRC Seva Kendra. Further, many excluded persons received notices from the NRC Seva Kendra in another district to establish the legacy data of their parents or grandparents in that place,” the report said.

It also said that hundreds of thousands of people are staring at extreme poverty, hunger and imprisonment in the detention camps as each person shall have to file appeal before Foreigners’ Tribunals following publication of the NRC or be treated as foreigner and face the draconian consequences.
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