New Delhi: Over 6 lakh Indians gave up Indian citizenship for that of another country between 2017 and 30 September 2021, the government informed Parliament Tuesday.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said while 1.33 lakh Indians gave up citizenship in 2017, the number stood at 1.34 lakh in 2018, 1.44 lakh in 2019, 85,248 in 2020 and 1.11 lakh in 2021, till 30 September.
According to information available with the Ministry of External Affairs, a total of 1,33,83,718 Indian nationals are living in foreign countries as on date, Rai added.
Between 2016 and 2020, Rai said, 4,177 people were also granted Indian citizenship. A total of 10,645 people had applied for Indian citizenship in the same period, he added.
Of this, the maximum are from Pakistan (7,782), followed by Afghanistan (795), the US (227), Sri Lanka (205), Bangladesh (184), Nepal (167) and Kenya (185).
Union home ministry data says a total of 2,262 people applied for Indian citizenship in 2016, while the figure stood at 855 in 2017, 1,758 in 2018, 4,224 in 2019 and 1,546 in 2020.
Rai told the Lok Sabha that people eligible under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) may apply for citizenship after the rules are notified.
The CAA seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship for persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities in the Muslim-majority neighbourhood countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Although the CAA was notified on 12 December 2019 and came into force from 10 January, 2020, it is yet to become operational as the rules have not been notified.
‘No decision on NRC at national level’
In his reply, Rai reiterated that the government has not taken any decision to prepare the National Register of Citizens (NRC) — an initiative that caused much controversy when attempted in Assam — at the national level.
On 20 November 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a debate on the then Citizenship Amendment Bill, had said that a nationwide NRC is in the works. The following month, PM Narendra Modi said his government or Parliament haven’t discussed the NRC. “There are no talks about it at all,” he added.
The government’s decision to pass the CAA had sparked nationwide protests in 2019.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)