KATHMANDU, March 27: The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that 22.15 million citizenship certificates have been distributed in the country so far after the government started keeping records of citizenship certificate distribution.
Writing to the parliament secretariat in response to lawmaker Bijay Subba’s questions to the home minister, the ministry has said that 22, 158,139 citizenship certificates have been distributed so far. But the ministry has not stated since when did the government start keeping records of citizenship certificates distribution.
Lawmaker Subba had sought the numbers of Nepali citizens obtaining citizenship certificates by descent, by birth and through naturalization. According to the Home Ministry data, 21.54 million people have obtained citizenship by descent so far including 909, 908 individuals receiving their citizenship under the category this [Nepali] year alone. As per the existing laws, the children of Nepali father or both Nepali parents can get citizenship by descent.
According to the ministry’s data, the government has distributed 190,726 citizenship certificates by birth so far.
Following myriad complaints that many non-Nepalis have also acquired Nepali citizenship under the ‘by-birth category’ by misusing a provision in the existing law that makes anyone who manages to get the recommendation of three Nepali citizens eligible for citizenship by birth, the parliament has been mulling over removing such provision.
“State Affairs Committee of the parliament has proposed that any individual born inside Nepal and living in the country shall get Nepali citizenship through the recommendation of any two Nepali citizens by descent and verification of the recommendation by the office bearers of the local unit and recommendation from ward office,” said Subba who is also member of the committee.
Likewise, 412,907 individuals have obtained naturalized citizenship certificates through marriage.
According to the existing laws foreign women marrying Nepali men can obtain citizenship under this category. The data provided by Home Ministry shows 17,388 individuals have obtained citizenship under the category since mid-June 2018 alone.
According to the parliamentary regulations ministers should table the answers to the oral questions of the lawmakers in writing in the House if they don’t get time to answer within the House session. Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa had tabled the answer in the House meeting on Sunday in the last meeting of the winter session of parliament.