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Assam NRC: E-Foreigners Tribunals Will Record Biometric Data Of ‘Foreigners’ to ‘Expedite’ Their ‘Deportation’

Per reports, the e-FTs will first focus on Assam and then on other parts of the country.

As per news reports, the government is enabling a platform to digitise records of all persons who will be declared “foreigners” by the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) in Assam after the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) is published later this month.

The Hindu reported that the E-Foreigners Tribunals (e-FTs) will record biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans of ‘foreigners’ along with other details and legacy data. This will reportedly reduce paperwork and help the Ministry of External Affairs ‘expedite’ the ‘deportation’ process.

As per Economic Times, these details will be made available to various agencies, including the foreigner’s tribunal. It would be a digital platform that will connect all stakeholders including border police, foreigner’s tribunals, detention centres, state and central government regarding issues related to illegal immigrants, including up-to-date legacy data and biometrics of immigrants. The report adds that as per an official, e-FTs would first focus on Assam and then to other parts of the country.

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Speaking to The Hindu, a senior government official said that the platform would not only include data on new cases that may come up for hearing after the final NRC is published, but it would also digitise records dating back to 1985.

“The FTs first came up in 1985. The details of persons declared foreigners all these years will also be available on e-FT. The centralised details would [for example] help the Ministry take up the deportation process of a foreigner staying here illegally, to the country concerned without getting embroiled in unnecessary paperwork through multiple agencies,” he said.

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He added that while they would record the biometrics, it would be stored on the servers of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established under the provisions of Aadhaar act 2016 by the Centre.

“The implementation of e-FT approved by the Centre is in progress. The basic aim is to integrate all nodes in the ecosystem, including FTs, NRC and border police,” Assam Home Commissioner and Secretary Ashutosh Agnihotri told The Hindu.

An official further told The Hindu that e-FTs would help strengthen the judiciary in the disposal of cases and help the police in more accurate and faster detection, prosecution and detention.

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