Millions of people in Assam on Sunday lived through the “the stroke of midnight”, to use Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s immortal words, as the Assam government published the first draft of an updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) of the State. While the document is meant to establish the credentials of a bona fide citizen, there are several questions surrounding the NRC. Here is a brief list of FAQs on the NRC.Why was it necessary to bring out an NRC in Assam?The NRC is being updated in Assam to detect Bangladeshi nationals, who may have illegally entered the State after the midnight of March 24, 1971, the cut-off date. This date was originally agreed to in the 1985 Assam Accord, signed between the then Rajiv Gandhi government and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).However, successive State governments failed to achieve much progress in detecting and deporting foreigners as set out in the Assam Accord. In 2005, another agreement was signed between the Centre, the then Tarun Gogoi government in Assam and the AASU where it was decided to update the NRC that was first published after the Census data of 1951 in post-Partition India.Though the Gogoi government had started the NRC update as a pilot project in some districts, it was stopped after violence broke out in some parts of the State.In July 2009, Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO, petitioned the Supreme Court for identification of Bangladeshi foreigners in the State and deletion of their names from the voters’ list.What will happen to those persons who don’t find their names in the draft register published on Monday?The list published on Monday is the first draft of the updated NRC. Another list is expected by February-end or early March, with more names and details.However, if a citizen’s name is missing, he or she can file an objection and request that the name be included after submitting the requisite documents to the NRC centre or online on the website www.nrcassam. nic.inIs there a possibility of violence in the State if a large number of people don’t find their names in the register?The Assam government did fear violence and hence requisitioned over 20,000 paramilitary personnel and requested the Army to be on standby to deal with any law-and-order issue.However, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said people, irrespective of their caste or religion, had taken part in the process and expressed confidence that the NRC update will not result in violence.The security challenge, however, will emerge only when the process of updating the NRC gets completed and a large number of people are left out.Is the NRC a court-mandated exercise?Yes, the publication of the first draft of the NRC by December 31, 2017 was ordered by the Supreme Court.The top court has been hearing this case since July 2009 when Assam Public Works moved court to intervene in detecting and deporting Bangladeshis.Should persons of Assam living in other parts of the country also have their names in the register?NRC is a process by which a bona fide Indian citizen can be distinguished from a foreigner.If a person from Assam is living or working in another part of the country, it is advisable to get oneself registered and establish one’s legacy as an “inhabitant” of Assam.
The 2018/19 Financial Year officially begins today (April 1), with the Government projecting to spend $773.6 billion for the year.When former Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, tabled the 2018/19 Estimates of Expenditure in the House of Representatives in the afternoon on Thursday, February 15, the document outlined that the Government expects to spend $560 billion for Recurrent (house-keeping) expenses and $213.6 billion on Capital (development) projects for the year.Before the tabling of the Estimates, Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, delivered the Throne Speech, outlining the programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the year.The fight against crime remains a major national priority, with the Government committing additional resources and support to the security forces for the 2018/19 fiscal year.The Governor-General noted that organised crime, along with the violence and homicide it produces, is the biggest threat to citizens’ security and continues to stymie the growth and prosperity of the country.He said the Administration will be seeking approval for a number of legislative measures designed to improve crime-fighting efforts and better enable law-enforcement agencies to interdict criminals.These include the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, Finger Prints(Amendment) Act, Firearms (Amendment) Act, Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, Parole (Amendment) Act, and The Justice Protection(Amendment) Bill.In addition to the legislative measures, the Government will continue to focus on strengthening its administrative and technological capabilities, crime-prevention and community safety measures, and rehabilitation and redemption.The justice system will also be given special attention in order to reduce the backlog of cases and improve efficiency and effectiveness.The Governor-General said the Government has committed to enabling growth and national development through a sound and predictable macro-economic policy framework that maintains low inflation, a stable exchange rate and competitive interest rates; and improving revenue administration by creating a simple, equitable andcompetitive tax environment to enhance growth and ensure greater compliance.Other areas of focus highlighted in the Throne Speech include programmes to rehabilitate and make new investments in critical health infrastructure; accelerating construction of affordable housing and providing greater access to funding; construction and maintenance of water and irrigation systems; commencement and completion of road projects to ease congestion and improve road safety and security; and scaling up progammes to reach more unattached youth.Social programmes for protected groups will continue to receive priority with respect to the allocation of resources, to ensure that overall spending in these areas is not eroded by inflation.Included are programmes for youth employment, poor relief, children’s homes and places of safety, school feeding, the elderly, and pregnant and lactating women.Special attention will be placed on the Programme of Advancment Through Health and Education (PATH), which targets some of the most vulnerable segments of the population – children and students aged zero to 19 years; the adult poor, including the disabled, elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers and the destitute Measures to establish a National Identification System (NIDS) will be advanced with the National Identification and Registration Authority Regulations to be developed and tabled in the House by September 2018.Work will continue to digitise the records of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD); develop processes to link the records of births and deaths to prevent identity theft; commence transformation of the RGD into the National Identification and Registration Authority; and establish a National Address Database, which will indicatewhere all parcels of land are located within the island in order to support the enrolment of persons in the NIDS.The Government will embark on an aggressive legislative agenda to support its strategic priorities to ensure food security, sustainable use of agricultural land and fisheries resources, and facilitate an enabling local business environment.Fire stations will be constructed in Montego Bay, Port Maria and Yallahs, two drop-in centres in Trelawny and St. Thomas, and homes built for indigent persons.Additional garbage trucks will also be purchased.The Government will be putting measures in place to increase protection of women and girls with the tabling of the Sexual Harassment Bill this year.The proposed Gender Advisory Council is also to be established.Work will begin to build out entertainment zones in Fort Charles and Fort Rocky, Port Royal; Seville, St. Ann; and Westmoreland and St. Catherine.The necessary legislative work and amendments to the various laws regulating entertainment will alsobe done in parallel.As it relates to education, five new schools are to be constructed, while money is to be provided from the e-learning budget to assist in the sustainability of information and communications technology (ICT) in schools from the early-childhood to secondary levels.The support programme for children zero to three years will be given focus, and the Early Childhood Rationalisation programme continued.When Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made his contribution to the 2018/19 Budget Debate in the House on March 20, he emphasised that achieving economic growth and curbing crime remain national priorities.Mr. Holness said the Administration is taking positive action in securing the nation’s prosperity, through effective stewardship reflected in delivering jobs and housing and undertaking infrastructural development.The Prime Minister argued that if Jamaica is to grow and develop into the desired inclusive, nurturing and caring society, Government spending will have to be “reprioritised towards critical growth areas, infrastructure spending and poverty alleviation.”
Fathima Babu and Kamal Haasan.PR HandoutFathima Babu is rumoured to be the first contestant to be out of Bigg Boss Tamil 3. She has got lesser votes than the other contestants, who were in the danger zone in Kamal Haasan-hosted show this week.Rumours are doing rounds that Fathima Babu has ended her journey in the Bigg Boss Tamil 3 show. Apart from her, Saravanan, Meera Mitun, Sakshi Agarwal, Cheran, Jangiri Madhumitha and Kavin were facing the elimination this week. Earlier Story:Looking at the comments on social media sites, all seven contestants have failed to secure viewers’ love and respect. Saravanan and Fathima had remained mute spectators over the fights and other issues inside the house, which had not impressed the fans. Whereas Cheran seems to be playing a safe game.Despite being a victim of bullying, Meera had not garnered viewers’ sympathy, while Madhumitha’s Tamil card which she used this week to win over an argument, was apparently not reaping much benefits.Going by the comments online, netizens desperately wanted Sakshi Aggarwal to be out of Kamal Haasan-hosted show and she was followed by Kavin. However, they might found themselves safe as their stay promises a lot of entertainment in the days to come, feel a section of the audience.Fathima Babu, Losliya Mariyanesan, Sakshi Agarwal, Jangiri Madhumitha, Kavin, Abhirami Venkatachalam, Saravanan, Vanitha Vijayakumar, Cheran, Sherin Shringar, Mohan Vaidya, Tharshan Thiyagarajah, Sandy, Mugen Rao and Reshma Pasupuleti are the 15 contestants who entered the show on an opening day. Meera Mitun joined them a day later in Bigg Boss Tamil house.