Dual Citizenship in India for Non Resident Indians

Dual Citizenship in India for Non Resident Indians

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Anurodh Sarkar started this petition to Prime Minister's office of India

It might not be surprising to us that Non Resident Indian (NRI) citizens account for 5% of rest of the world's population but the actual numbers are staggering. Based on the website Non Resident Indians online, 27.7 million (2.77 crore) Indians live outside the borders of India and that number is almost equal to the population of Malaysia, 10% more than the population of Australia and double the population of Netherlands. If that is still not surprising, then how about this data - If you make a virtual country out of these 27.7 million people, that virtual country would beat most developed countries in most social and economic metrics. These 27.7 million people face one common challenge among several other issues - but this one is not a result of the policies of the foreign nations these NRI's are residing in - that challenge is Dual Citizenship. The law that prevents Indians from holding Dual Citizenship is certainly archaic and does not hold its basic premise in today's date. A large proportion of these 27.7 million NRI's are in the pipeline of attaining permanent residency or citizenship of a foreign country, and they would, although reluctantly, drop Indian citizenship for the betterment of their future and the future of their children. But the bigger question is - Will they drop Indian Citizenship if they can still hold Dual Citizenship? 

My second question is - Does India benefit from granting Dual Citizenship? Now, consider that "virtual country" again made up of these NRI's. If given an opportunity, they would strive to attain citizenship of another country and still keep Indian citizenship. They will add to the outstanding social and economic metrics of India, they would be more patriotic to India, they would be more inclined to give back to their home nation and most important of all - they will keep the culture alive even being far from the nation and not hide that culture in an attempt to blend with the foreign culture. When they are global citizens why can't they have global citizenship. 

My third comment is whether this is the right time to raise this issue - In 2003, Indian parliament passed the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) bill to address this issue, but that attempt was just a proxy in my humble opinion - OCI citizens cannot vote in elections and have many other restrictions compared to a resident citizen of India. This is a right time since passing of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) bill recently. NRC has opened a new perspective of citizenship issues in India and this is certainly the ripe time to knock the doors of highest offices of India to propose a bill for Dual Citizenship. These 27.7 million people (growing by double digits) are one of the most educated, affluent and globally aware citizens of India and their contribution in the decision making process of the largest democracy in the world will go a long way in making India a super power. Today, India is 6th biggest economy in the world and by 2030 we will stand among top three economies - China, USA and India. This is the right time to take right steps in making India a more globalized economy and opening the option of Dual Citizenship will be paramount in that vision.

Finally, I would sincerely request all the NRI's and their supporters to sign this petition and urge the Indian Government to take serious actions in this direction. The current government is very strong in the parliament (we might never see such a promptly performing parliament in near future) and they have all the power to make this happen. 

Let's not take this lightly - this will shape your future and the future of India as a global power.

Jai Hind! 

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