The identity of the lucky two who will be getting the first Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) certificates has not been announced yet.
They will be selected from the shortlist of those who have applied for OCI and also confirmed that they would be present at the function in Hyderabad.
It is from Down Under in Sydney, from where 911 applications were processed. London, with a much larger presence of Indian diaspora, came next with 721 applications. Toronto stood third with 474 OCI applications.
Within the US, the highest number of 370 applications were received from Chicago. However, the idea is yet to sink in way with descendants of indentured labour — girmitiyas — settled in places like Fiji, South Africa, Guyana and Surinam.
The scheme, however, is silent on the prospects of applicants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, that India considers part of its territory.
But a senior home ministry official told TOI that adequate security checks would be made to ensure that “trouble makers” are kept out.
The scheme could attract applications from Mirpuris of PoK, based in UK, US and other places, who have been constantly engaged in anti-India campaign.
Though it is loosely referred to as dual citizenship, a person with an OCI certificate does not legally have the same status as an Indian citizen.
This is because the Constitution does not allow anybody to hold Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Article 9 of the Constitution says: “No person shall be a citizen of India … or be deemed to be a citizen of India … if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign state.”
So, overseas citizens will not be entitled to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and will not have any political rights.
They can neither contest elections nor cast votes. Benefits that persons with OCI get are still substantial: Multi-purpose, multiple entry, lifelong visa for visiting India.
Every overseas citizen will be issued a registration certificate printed like an Indian passport, though in a different colour to avoid confusion.
The government will also paste an OCI visa sticker on the person’s foreign passport. Unlike foreign citizens, persons with OCI are exempt from reporting to Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs) for any length of stay in India.
Parity with the Indian citizens who are registered under the income tax law as NRIs.
|The only respect in which they are worse off than NRIs is that overseas citizens cannot buy agricultural and plantation properties.
SOURCE:THE TIMES OF INDIA