Indian Government proposes to scrap OCI-PIO cards & replace with new ‘Overseas Indian Card’: NRIs unhappy
A new Bill, which seeks to do away with the existing Overseas Citizen of India (OCI ) card & the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and replace them with a new Overseas Indian Card has been proposed by the Indian Government amidst oppositions and rage from Indians living overseas.
The bill, has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha and is likely to come up before the Lok Sabha for passage in the current parliament session, which ends on 21st February 2014. The Overseas Indians are unhappy with the new changes. Members of the Indian diaspora, many of whom are OCI and PIO card-holders cannot understand the rationale behind the Indian government’s move to suddenly change the nomenclature of the cards and introduce a new one.
The OCI card scheme has drawn unprecedented emotional appeal and resulted in huge numbers signing up for it at about 250,000 a year. Applicants have to pay around $300 per card and it helps them to connect emotionally to their country of origin.says Munish Gupta, co-ordinator of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International.
Indian Government proposes to scrap OCI-PIO cards & replace with new ‘Overseas Indian Card’
PIO CARD: This is issued to any person currently holding foreign passport, who can prove their Indian origin up to three generations before. The same holds for spouses of Indian citizen or persons of Indian origin. Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other countries as may be specified by the central government are not eligible for grant of Persons of Indian Origin card.
The PIO card must be produced alongside the foreign passport when entering or departing any port in India. Any changes in the foreign passport – name changes or passport renewal – must also be reflected in the PIO card.
The news about scrapping the OCI and PIO cards may create confusion among the Indian diaspora as even the implementation of the existing PIO-OCI cards were riddled with massive problems.
OCI CARD: the OCI card is for foreign nationals who were eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or after that date.
The country of the citizenship of the OCI applicant must also allow dual citizenship in some form and applications from citizens of Bangladesh and Pakistan are not allowed.
While PIO card holders do not require a separate visa and can enter India with multiple entry facility for 15 years; the OCI card is a multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa for visiting India. OCI card-holders have parity with non-resident Indians in respect of economic, financial and educational matters except in acquiring agricultural land.
Image Courtesy: wikipedia
– Sharanya Bharathwaj