Prime Minister Narendar Modi’s recent announcement in New York of merging the OCI/ PIO services has acted as a blessing in disguise for non-residents Indians (NRIs). Prime Minister Modi’s initiative to improve India’s governance aims to have an inclusive growth model which includes all stake holders including the ever growing NRI community. The PIO/OCI schemes have been of benefit in the past to NRI’s and with an aim to further involve them in India’s growth story, these new announcements seem to be relevant.
As per the recent announcement by Mr. Modi, Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders would be eligible to get lifelong visa benefits to India without repeated renewal or applying afresh for a Visa. This initiative is not only for the PIO/OCI card holders but aims at a larger transformation of the India Visa regime. These winds of change will, in addition to the benefits for the PIO/OCI card holders, also effect foreign nationals. Those foreign nationals, who are on long visits to India, would no longer have to get their police verification check on frequent basis. Such police verifications often tended to be time consuming and harassingwithout really serving any meaningful purpose.
The unification of the existing different schemes for PIO and OCI schemes along with those for foreign nationals would enable them to have a carefree stay in India for longer periods, allowing them to have a better established connect with India without any inconvenience. Furthermore, it would give an indirect boost to the economy and the tourism industry.
PIO card holders include all those Indians, who have attained dual citizenship and have been staying abroad for the past 10 or 20 years. Whereas, the OCI cards are being issued to all those individuals, who have recently migrated abroad and have attained the citizenship of another country (other than India).