New Delhi: With a ‘bump’ in the road and a bit of hype, India’s application to become a citizen is looking to get some fresh momentum in the first week of January.
On January 16, Indian passport holders will be able to submit an application to obtain citizenship.
A similar process has been rolled out in China and South Africa and the results will be announced in coming weeks.
In India, citizenship is a key pillar of democracy, with nearly 50 per cent of the population now considered citizens, a higher percentage than in other countries such as China.
However, there are some hurdles to overcome before citizenship can be granted.
The requirements for being a citizen vary across the country, with the most popular requirements being a resident in the country for three years, passing a literacy test and passing a health examination.
Other requirements are also often different from state to state, such as having lived there for five years, and having lived in the same household for seven years.
India also requires a high school education and an active job.
However in an interview conducted by Quartz, a top Indian diplomat said the government is focusing on making India’s citizens more educated, with a focus on getting a better educated populace.
“The Indian government is aiming at making India an even better nation,” the diplomat said, referring to the nation’s higher education and job opportunities.
India’s citizenship process was first rolled out for residents in the city of Mumbai in 2007, and in 2010, the government launched a national citizenship portal to make citizenship easier for the stateless.
However that was in 2009.
In 2016, the Citizenship Act was amended to make it easier for people to apply for citizenship, and the number of citizens increased to 10.6 million.
India has been trying to build up its citizenry over the past decade, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying at a recent rally that the country will be the largest economy in the world in 2021, with around two million citizens.
India is the only country in the World with a permanent population of more than 10 million, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
The country has more than 20 million people, including more than a million foreigners, according the World Bank.
According to the census, the country has 1.5 million people with no permanent address, with India’s population growing at a rapid pace, as its population increased from 5.2 million in 2007 to 8.3 million in 2016.
India has been struggling to attract new immigrants, especially for those who want to move to the country to work, which has led to concerns over the influx of foreigners into the country.