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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 28 December, 2019

  • Min Read

Compulsory renewal of OCI cards goes

Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the Home Ministry order; about NRI, OCI and PIO and benefits enjoyed by them

News: The Union Home Ministry has relaxed the provisions for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders that made it compulsory for those aged above 50 and below 20 to renew their cards on renewal of their passports.

What was the reason behind the move?

  • Several OCI card holders were not able to travel to India due to this and many were stopped by airlines and immigration authorities at various airports due to the mismatch.

About the relaxation order

  • According to a recent Home Ministry order, an OCI card holder is required to re-register each time a new passport is issued till 20 years of age and once after 50 years of age but re­issuance of OCI registration is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued between the ages of 21 and 50.
  • In order to facilitate OCI card holders, this requirement has been relaxed till 30th June 2020 as per MHA instructions dated December 17. The OCI cardholder should carry existing OCI card along with Old and New passport.

Benefits enjoyed by OCI cardholders

  • OCI cardholders are given benefits on a par with non-Resident Indians in financial, economic and educational fields, except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
  • OCI cardholders are given free multiple entry and multi­purpose life­long visa to visit India and are also exempted from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in India.

Who are NRIs, PIO and OCI?

  • Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) are the three major categories in which the people from India go and live abroad can be categorised.
  • While NRIs is essentially a term used for Indians that live in another country, PIOs and OCIs are people who want to stay connected and involved with India more closely.

PIO-OCI merger

  • Merger of PIO cards with OCI cards was announced by PM in March 2016.

How will merging help?

  • Merging PIO and OCI will lead to simplification of the rules under a single umbrella. It would facilitate visa-free travel to India, rights of residency and participation in business and educational activities in the country. This is aimed at simplifying the visa-free entry for people of Indian origin into India.
  • The merger of the two cards could make PIO cardholders eligible for benefits already enjoyed by OCI cardholders. Merging of the two cards will also facilitate travel of Indians staying abroad and their participation in various activities in India.

Source: The Hindu


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