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Home > Business > Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Dual citizenship offer wins many hearts

January 09, 2003 21:33 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's announcement of dual-citizenship for Persons of Indian Origin to cash in on their "richness of experience" won the hearts of many invitees at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in New Delhi, who felt that an "immediate bond" had been established with the motherland of their forefathers.

"I feel an immediate bond has been established with the country of my origin," said Raminder Dosanjh, wife of former Prime Minister of British Columbia's Canadian Province whose husband was among the first ten recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

"I feel things are evolving... 20 years ago India had a different approach towards its extended family... then they announced the PIO card...and now the dual citizenship offer is definitely a step ahead," said Dr Chanemougame Kalaitchelvame, from the tiny French island of Reunion near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

Kalaitchelvame said he was trying to revive the Indian identity and culture among the younger generation of Indian Tamils who came to the island 200 years back and the two-nation membership offer might prove to be useful in this direction.

He hoped the fees for dual citizenship would be reasonable so that the not-so-rich Indian diaspora could also avail of the offer.

Though the delegates seemed to know little about the offer, they said that apart from easing travel restrictions, it is primarily aimed at attracting the overseas Indian business community and their dollars.

"They are likely to benefit the most from the offer," said Navin Maharaj, a Fijian involved in construction and building business.

Former Fijian Prime Minister of Indian origin Mahendra Chaudhary, however, said although it would help in securing more investments, people other than entrepreneurs would also benefit.

Several countries like USA, UK and Australia have the dual-citizenship system to keep people emotionally attached to countries of their origin. "This helps to enhance the cultural bond between them," Chaudhary said.

Foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal felt the impact would be "greatly psychological." Downplaying the business advantage, he said the country already has introduced many measures to attract non-resident Indians to do business here.

A first generation NRI from the US, requesting anonymity, however, felt that the "small piece of paper" was of no use if "I do not have a sense of participation or say in a society, the membership of which I am seeking."

Raminder Dosanjh, who made Canada her home some three decades ago, appeared more understanding. "It still gives you many rights," she said.

"I don't think it would be fair for NRIs to vote or stand in elections when they are not residing in the country and are not aware of the local issues in details," Dosanjh said.

The cash-rich Indian community in the Gulf is, however, not impressed by the offer and feel they have been bypassed.

Renowned businessman Bharatbhai Shah, who migrated from Saurashtra in Gujarat to Yemen 54 years ago and is now doing hardware business in Dubai, said: "You can adopt a child but not a mother."

"We want a certificate from the Indian government stating that we are NRIs so as to enable easy travel to the motherland and facilitate sale and purchase of land in the country of our origin," he said adding the offer was only to 'satisfy' people from America.

He claimed the demand for dual-citizenship was more than a decade old and attributed delay in this count to "callousness on the part of the officials."

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: Dual Citizenship boon for NRIs and India even.

It's good that Indian Govt.has finally decided on this issue. Many NRI brothers and sisters will be benefitted obviously. There are two sides of coin ...

Posted by Mrs.Medha Purandare

Sub: Dual citizenship

Mr Ravi Kuamar.. the big mouth ITian bragger. Please shutup since nothing puts you in postion to judge. My point of view is dual citizenship ...

Posted by Uday

Sub: Duel Citizenship

It will be an excellent idea to grant duel citizenship and the present government should act swiftly to get the formalities finalized. It will be ...

Posted by G.K. Bhagavan

Sub: Message

"They are likely to benefit the most from the offer," said Navin... Who they?

Posted by Akhilesh Mathur

Sub: dual citizenship

hi: Wanted to know the process for dual citizenship.. I have an indian passport and the US citizenship exam next week. Could anyone send me ...

Posted by anjali


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