Bill for merger of schemes for overseas Indians soon


New Delhi (IANS): A draft bill that will enable the merging of two schemes for overseas Indians is expected to be brought before the cabinet for approval soon, an official statement said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a number of announcements for PIOs (Person of Indian Origin) and OCIs (Overseas Citizenship of India).

“…a draft Bill for amending the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which will enable merger of the PIO and OCI schemes, is expected to be brought to the Cabinet for approval shortly,” a Prime Minister’s Office communique said.

It added that visa-on-arrival and electronic travel authorisation in respect of 43 countries is expected to be inaugurated Nov 27.

The countries include the US, Australia, Fiji and Pacific islands.

“The government has already announced fulfilment of the following announcements made by the prime minister: Granting visa for life to PIO card holders, exemption for PIOs staying in India for long term from police reporting and issuance of long-term (10 year) visas to US nationals on reciprocal basis,” the communique said.

Modi, during his address at the Madison Square Garden in New York Sep 28, while talking about consular and visa issues said that the government will join the PIO and OCI schemes for the diaspora and a new scheme would soon be announced.

He also announced visa-on-arrival facilities during his recent 10-day visit to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji.

“There was immense glee on the faces of our diaspora when I announced the visa-on-arrival facilities and the OCI and PIO merger in Australia and Fiji,” Modi wrote in his blog a day after ending his three-nation visit.

“It is our aim to make the diaspora an integral part of our development journey and since the last few months we have channelized our efforts in this regard,” the prime minister added.