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Dr Singh presents first OCI cards
George Iype in Hyderabad | January 07, 2006 13:57 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday inaugurated the 3rd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad by fulfilling a promise that his government made last year - to grant Overseas Citizenship India cards to Persons of Indian Origin.
Dr Singh presented the first Overseas Citizenship India cards to two Persons of Indian Origin during the PBD inaugural ceremony - Nirvruti Rai and Iftar Ahmed Sherief.
"Last year at Mumbai, I had declared our government's intention to make sure that one day, every PIO living anywhere in the world can aspire to become a citizen of our sacred Motherland. Today we have delivered on our promise," Dr Singh said.
He said the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will soon complete the process of rationalisation of categories for the OCI cards and ensure convergence of benefits. Oscar Fernandes, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said that the procedures to grant the OCI cards are being simplified.
On Saturday, the Ministry also released an OCI handbook, which explains the guidelines for getting OCI cards. The first OCI card, which Dr Singh presented comprises:
Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
However, the OCI cardholder is not entitled to vote, be a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament, cannot hold constitutional posts such as president, vice-president, judge of the Supreme Court or High Court, etc and he/she cannot normally hold employment in the government.
A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on January 26, 1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after January 26, 1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as OCI.
Minor children of such persons are also eligible for the OCI cards. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.
Complete coverage: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2006