As many as 4,844 foreigners have been granted Indian citizenship in the past five years, the government told the Lok Sabha Tuesday. In 2021, the government granted almost three times the number of Indian citizenships compared to 2020, the House was informed.
According to the data, 817 foreigners were granted Indian citizenship in 2017, 628 in 2018, 987 in 2019, 639 in 2020 and 1,773 in 2021.
“The citizenship of India is governed under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Citizenship to eligible foreigners is granted by registration under section 5, by naturalization under section 6 or by incorporation of territory under section 7 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The reasons for taking Indian citizenship vary in terms of specific circumstances of each applicant subject to the provisions contained in the Citizenship Act, 1955 and rules made thereunder,” Minister of State for Homesaid in reply to a question.
While rules for Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are yet to be framed, government data, earlier presented in Parliament, shows a significant majority of those granted Indian citizenship since 2018 were minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and belonged to Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian faiths.
According to data provided by the government in Parliament earlier, as many as 8,244 people from Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian faith from the three countries applied for Indian citizenship of which 3,117 were granted the same till December 2021. Interestingly, between 2018 and 2020, the total number of foreigners from across the world who were granted Indian Citizenship stood at 2,254. The overall data for 2021 was not available.
“Number of citizenship applications received from Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian minorities groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan during the year 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 is 8244. The number of Indian citizenship granted to people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian minorities groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan during the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 is 3117,” MoS Home Rai told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question.
The CAA was enacted by Parliament on December 12, 2019, but its rules have not been framed as yet. The legislation, which grants citizenship to illegal immigrants belonging to Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, Christian and Buddhist communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed by Parliament amid vehement criticism from the Opposition that pointed out the communal agenda behind the law as it conspicuously left out Muslims. Indian does not have a refugee policy.
“All foreign nationals including refuge seekers are governed by the provisions contained in The Foreigners Act, 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and The Citizenship Act, 1955,” Rai said in his reply.
In reply to another question regarding the total number of foreigners granted Indian Citizenship earlier, Rai informed the House that between 2016 and 2020, as many as 4,177 people were granted Indian Citizenship. Of these 628 were approved in 2018, 987 in 2019 and 639 in 2020.
Rai informed the House that as of December 14 last year, 10,635 applications were pending with the government for Indian Citizenship. Of these, 7,306 were pending from Pakistan, 1,152 from Afghanistan and 161 from Bangladesh. A total of 428 applications from stateless people were also pending with the government.
Following the enactment of CAA in 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in media interviews that year that nearly 600 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan had been granted Indian Citizenship since 2014.