Tag: 上海水磨会所YK

Fool’s Gold

first_imgThe promise of dual citizenship was nothing short of calculated political deception by the Indian government.  Overseas Indians who have been anxiously awaiting the introduction of dual citizenship relax. You have been had.After tantalizing Indians in the diaspora for two years with its much-ballyhooed promise of dual citizenship, the Indian government has finally adopted rules governing what is now described as “overseas Indian citizenship,” which explicitly rule out the original promise of both dual nationality and dual citizenship.Just so there is no mistaking of the new rules, applicants will not even get a passport. What they will receive – get this – is a certificate, and not a particularly attractive one at that.As presently formulated, overseas Indian citizenship is nothing but a glorified PIO Card scheme, which was introduced to an resounding thud a few years earlier. In one important respect, overseas Indian Citizenship offers less than even the PIO Card, which was modeled after the U.S. Green Card. The Indian Embassy explains the distinction, “The essential difference between PIO Card and Registration Certificate is that while a PIO Card can also be used as a travel document, the Registration Certificate cannot be so used.”After tantalizing Indians in the diaspora for two years with its much-ballyhooed promise of dual citizenship, the Indian government has finally adopted rules governing what is now described as “overseas Indian citizenship,” which explicitly rule out the original promise of both dual nationality and dual citizenship.   The certificate is likely to meet the same dismal fate as the PIO Card, which had but a handful of takers from among the 22 million overseas Indians worldwide.The Indian government has provided no explanation why dual citizenship, one of the central recommendations of the LM Singhvi Committee on the Indian Diaspora, was quietly abandoned. As recently as a week before the announcement of the rules on the overseas Indian citizenship certificate, several Indian leaders, including Jagdish Tytler, minister of state for Overseas Indian Affairs, as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, were touting dual citizenship among overseas Indian communities in Europe and America. Citizenship rules are ultimately within the province of the home ministry, which is headed by Shivraj V. Patil. Clearly both Tytler and Singh were blindsided by the new home ministry policy.Overseas Indians might not have been as disappointed had they not been strung along these past two years into the delusion that dual citizenship was at hand. The promise was made with much fanfare at the first Pravasi Divas by then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in January 2003 and reaffirmed at the second Pravasi Divas in January 2004, soon after parliament passed revisions to the citizenship act.It is now clear that the earlier promises were nothing short of calculated political deception, which is what makes it particularly hard to take. The government’s embarassment at its failure to deliver on its most visible promise to the Diaspora is reflected in the secrecy under which the rules were adopted. There were no blaring headlines, just quiet communiques to Indian embassies worldwide. And no government official seemed prepared to step forward to respond to Little India’s inquiries on the new rules.The overseas Indian community is faced with two options. We should weigh a legal challenge to the current policy requiring us to surrender our Indian citizenship when we acquire foreign citizenship. A plausible legal case can be developed that the Indian government cannot strip an Indian citizen of his citizenship under either the Indian constitution or the revised Citizenship Act.The second option is political. Overseas Indians attending the Pravasi Bhartitya Divas in Mumbai in January 2005 should plan a dharna when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Abdul Kalam make their appearance at the event. We may not succeed in securing dual citizenship, but we can at least demonstrate that the uniquely Indian political tactic finessed by the most famous of all overseas Indians, Mahatma Gandhi, still flows in our veins.  Related Itemslast_img read more