MUMBAI, JANUARY 7, 2004:
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE
: A day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to the tsunami-ravaged
islands of Andaman and Nicobar, he came to Mumbai with a promise to
Indias diasporamade with emotion and franknesson a
landmark new deal in dual citizenship.
Emphasising the idea of Indianness that binds
the nation with its 25 million overseas Indians, Singh told NRIs from
61 nations at the third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here that he understood
the complex migrant psyche.
Appealing for massive investment in education and infrastructure, Singh
said: Your impatience at our bureaucratic ways is understandable.
The PM then announced the decision to give substance to
the long-standing demand of dual citizenship, without further loss of
time. I am painfully aware it was promised earlier. I regret that little
The government will extend dual citizenship to all overseas Indians
who migrated post January 26, 1950provided it is permitted under
laws of their home nations.
To take his pledge forward, Singh said the
cumbersome application forms will be simplified with one user-friendly
form to replace the three forms prescribed earlier.
For all overseas Indians who migrated after January 26, 1950
Simpler user-friendly application form
Improved format of registration certificate
Smart cards for registration being considered
The format of certificates of registration for overseas Indians will
also be improved. A smart card is being considered,
he said. Acknowledging that governments had taken too much time over
the issue, he said he had directed concerned ministries to spell out
benefits of such registration, for clarity of policy.
I hope the day will come when every single Indian who wishes
dual citizenship will get it, said Singh.
The PM also called upon overseas Indian parents to send children to
study in India. The psyche of the migrant is complex,
he said, referring to the hard times his family faced during Partition.
Emphasising that he and his daughters had benefited from education here,
he appealed to NRIs to fund NGOs for primary education in villages of
Our airports are getting clogged, the PM admitted before highlighting
reforms in civil aviation reforms, including the open skies policy.
We need massive investment in infrastructure, rural and
urban, to step up rate of economic growth to 7-8 per cent a year,
said Singh. With an assurance to extend reforms to polity and administration,
he said never in human history have a billion people, mostly poor, built
such a nation of promise.
The assurances were plenty, from plans to address the issue of protecting
returns on the savings of Gulf NRIs to their work contracts. We
should try and wean away NRIs in the Gulf from bank deposits to debt
or even equity-oriented savings, said the Prime Minister.