Bid to ease citizenship process for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh minorities | India News

NEW DELHI: The home ministry late on Friday expanded the list of states and districts where the respective home secretaries and collectors can exercise delegated powers of the central government to grant citizenship to immigrants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
With the addition of 13 more districts across five states as well as Punjab and Haryana to the list, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains from three neighbouring countries, who reside in 29 districts and nine states of India, will face fewer hassles in acquiring Indian citizenship and can apply online.
Ministry sources clarified the expansion of locations has no link to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The applicants will have to fulfil residency criteria for citizenship by naturalisation, on par with any other foreign applicant, requiring them to be ordinarily resident in India for 11 of the 14 years preceding the 12 months prior to applying, and uninterrupted residency in the last 12 months. The applicant can’t be an illegal immigrant.
In a notification issued Friday, the ministry said collectors of Morbi, Rajkot, Patan and Vadodara in Gujarat; Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh; Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan; Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab would have powers for registering individuals as citizens of India under Section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 in respect of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladeshi applicants of religious minorities there. Home secretaries of Punjab and Haryana were also delegated these powers.

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