According to a report in The Hindu, the Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant citizenship to people who migrated to India from Pakistan and Bangladesh after facing religious persecution.
How will this be done?
The Home Ministry is preparing a bill to amend the Act. It will also make provisions in the Foreigners Act 1946, the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, and the Passport Rules 1950.
Who will benefit?
Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Jains will benefit from the decision and not just Hindus.
How will it help the migrants?
The people who flee Pakistan or Bangladesh fearing religious persecution will be provided with long-term visas with an option for citizenship. This will ensure they will not be considered illegal migrants.
What will the process be?
It is expected that 31 December 2014 will be fixed as the cut-off date for people who fled to India on grounds of religious persecution. They will be allowed to apply for Indian citizenship using either of two options: citizenship by registration (minimum seven years) or by naturalisation (minimum 12 years).
The Ministry of External Affairs has warned the Home Ministry this decision may affect India's diplomatic relations with Pakistan and Bangladesh.