OFBJP is a failed model for BJP and should be dissolved

#SamparkForSamarthan is a smart and “out of box” campaign for/by BJP. Holding dialogue with prominent Indians in India is smart.

The same strategy with appropriate modifications would be good in case of NRIs/PIOs too. We all know that NRIs/PIOs are not of same importance in the elections, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that NRIs/PIOs have significant connections and clout back in India, which can be of electoral benefit to BJP.

In my view, and in the views of many, OFBJP is a failed model for BJP.

Most in them are lightweight, have little network among NRIs/PIOs, little desire to network for BJP, have very little ability as leaders, and are harming the interests of BJP. People in OFBJP seem to be more interested in pics with BJP dignitaries and officials.

Instead of serving interests of BJP by operating above and beyond community associations, they seems to be more interested in playing politics within and against Indian community associations. In the process, they are alienating NRIs/PIOs, with obvious harm to BJP interests.

It’s advantageous for BJP associates to work with community associations, which is currently very difficult due to immaturity and ineptitude of OFBJP “leaders”.

My advice: Sack them all and dissolve these useless OFBJP branches. Revamping them I’d obviously an option.

Will Mr Vijay Chauthaiwale (OFBJP Global head) and Mr Amit Shah (BJP President) listen is an entirely different question.

Dr Yadu Singh

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OFBJP Australia plays community politics and harms BJP

Sydney 8th July, 2014

It is disappointing to see OFBJP Australia, especially Balesh Dhankar, playing politics inside the community and in the process, is harming the BJP. OFBJP Australia should operate above and away from the politics among and inside community associations, but unfortunately, visionless leadership of OFBJP Australia is unable to understand this simple fact.

I explain the matter below. 👇👇

INDAUS Inc had some difficulties due to issues inside the Executive Committee. Since it became impossible to resolve them, it called an Executive Committee meeting on 18th May, 2014, after Secretary, Mr Anagan Babu refused to call an EC meeting despite repeated requests. Not only did Mr Anagan Babu and Mr Stanley D’Cuz not attend the meeting, but also they tried to sabotage it. They were calling others to not attend it.

So, What is their agenda?

Not calling an EC meeting, not attending an EC meeting, telling others to not attend it, not doing anything on behalf of INDAUS and writing to people outside INDAUS seem to fit with their agenda to destroy INDAUS.

People had had enough and were not prepared to be blackmailed by these two. You expect Public Officer to play a constructive role, but he was very much part of this destructive game. Mr D’Cruz is in fact the mentor of Mr Babu in their destructive games.

This was an extra-ordinary situation, needing extra-ordinary steps.

EC meeting was called by the President and Vice President. See below.

EC Meeting passed an unanimous resolution to dissolve the committee and request an independent person and Lawyer, Mr Navjot Singh, to be returning Officer for the election on 20th July, 2014. Members will elect a new team then. There was no other option. The dysfunction created by these two had to end.

We have the unfortunate situation where these two disgruntled persons, Mr Stanley D’Cruz and Mr Anagan Babu, whose contributions have been negligible, if not negative, have tried to damage us by writing a public email to our adversaries and media. Some of our senseless adversaries, especially OFBJP Australia, are running a social media campaign against us.

There is no office bearer in INDAUS right now, until 2oth July election. There is no President or Secretary anymore.

Mr Babu wrote himself as the secretary, which is not correct. There is no Executive Committee anymore until 20th July, 2014.

Contrary to their claims, INDAUS is not under the supervision of Dept of Fair Trading or anyone else. It is a disgusting and untrue claim.

Harming INDAUS of which they held high positions is exactly the behaviour of what Jai Chand and Mir Zaffer did in our Indian history. This is an ultimate disloyal conduct. This is an outrageous and despicable act on behalf of Mr D’Cruz and Mr Babu.

This indiscipline and their anti-INDAUS activities will not be tolerated and actions will take place in due course.

I enclose the EC meeting notice dated 5th May, 2014 and the Minutes of our EC meeting dated 18th May, 2014.

EC meeting request 5th May, 2014
————————————————————————————————————-
5th May, 2014
To
The EC members of INDAUS Inc
(By email)
Despite many requests to secretary to call an EC meeting, an EC meeting has not been called.
Similarly, despite several requests to Secretary, the list of INDAUS members has not been given to
the EC members. This is harmful to INDAUS and is clearly not satisfactory or acceptable.
We are therefore calling the EC meeting:
At 4 PM, 18th May, Sunday, 2014, Wenty League, 50 Smith St, Wentworthville NSW 2145
Agenda:
1. Payment approval for pending invoices and expenses incurred on INDAUS behalf
2. Financial statement and status
3. List of INDAUS members
4. Complaints about INDAUS members
5. Setting the process for Constitutional amendment to overcome the clause stating that the
first Executive Committee will work for 3 years
6. Any other issue with the approval from the Chair
Secretary, Mr Anagan Babu, and Treasurer, Mr Anil Sharma, are requested to bring all relevant
documents/statements in hard copy form to the meeting. Public Officer is requested to bring the
papers he has submitted to Dept of Fair Trading Dept, after AGM.
All EC members are requested to attend this important EC meeting.
Best regards
Dr Yadu Singh Mr Gurdeep Singh
President Vice President
INDAUS INDAUS
—————————————————————————————————————–
—————————————————————————————————————–
INDAUS Inc Minutes 18-5-14

Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting, Sunday, 18th May, 2014, Wenty League, Wentworthville, NSW.

Present:
1. Dr Yadu Singh, President
2. Gurdeep Singh, Vice President
3. Mr Jagdish Lodhia, Committee member
4. Venkata Prasad Ragipani , Committee member
5. Chidanand Puttarevanna, Committee member
6. Sarath Madhavapeddi, Committee member
7. Arun Nanda, Committee member
8. Mr Anil Sharma (who could not attend the meeting physically but came over phone, heard the resolutions and agreed with them, and who had sent an SMS earlier in the day favouring dissolution of EC, and holding fresh election)

Apologies:
1. Mr Abhilash Narendran (via Sarath Madhavapeddi)
2. Anagan Babu (who sent a long SMS with many words including “Anyway, I am not available today”)
Absent:
1. Mr Stanley D’Cruz
2. Dr Ray Pallath
3. Mr Gaurav Nirwal (currently overseas, but has earlier expressed his desire in writing to resign from his position in EC)

Chaired by Mr Jagdish Lodhia

Meeting Chair welcomed members and declared that the quorum (which is 5 for INDAUS EC meetings) is met, and that the meeting is constitutionally valid and proper meeting. Mr Gurdeep Singh was little late but took part in all resolutions and decisions.

Background of the today’s Executive Committee was outlined as below.

On 5th May, 2014, President (Dr Yadu Singh) and Vice President (Clr Gurdeep Singh), called for an Executive Committee (EC) meeting to be held on May 18, 2014, after repeated requests for an EC meeting were not acted upon by Secretary (Mr Anagan Babu). Requests from EC members for INDAUS membership list was also declined by Secretary (Mr Anagan Babu) and Public Officer (Mr Stanley D’Cruz). It is clear that current EC is grossly dysfunctional. No EC meeting has taken place since Dec, 2013, despite numerous requests, no activity has been done by INDAUS since Aug, 2013. There is a serious question mark on the survival and reputation of INDAUS now. INDAUS is in extra-ordinary situation.

All agreed that the current EC is not functioning at all and everyone, including those who were not in the meeting today, wants the current EC to be dissolved and fresh elections to be organized to elect a new Executive Committee.

It was also debated and agreed that Community Justice Centre (CJC) route to get rid of current EC is not practical because CJC cannot force attendance of anyone without their consent. It was felt that Mr Stanley D’Cruz or Mr Babu approaching CJC on behalf of INDAUS is not appropriate because EC has not given any such authority or direction to either of them. Executive Committee (EC) meetings are the right forum to discuss, debate and decide issues in any association.

It was also debated and agreed that removal of current EC via Special General Meeting (SGM) is also not practical or necessary for various reasons, including availability of easier and more practical route of an EC meeting.

It was debated and agreed that the best, the most practical and the least harmful/disruptive option is to dissolve EC via an EC meeting, and organize fresh election under supervision of a neutral person. After all, everyone including those who were not in the meeting today wants to have current EC dissolved and new one elected.

All accepted that there is no other practical option to deal with gross dysfunction and infighting inside INDAUS EC, except to dissolve it and order fresh election under supervision of a neutral person with legal background.

Following resolutions were passed unanimously, signed by members.

1. Treasurer, Mr Anil Sharma, is requested to pay Maya Da Dhaba and Website providers within 7 days from today.
2. Current EC is hereby dissolved effective from close of business (COB) on 30/5/2014 and fresh election is to be held within 30 days, under supervision of a neutral person (Mr Navjot Singh), who is also a practising legal professional and is not a member of INDAUS.
3. Mr Navjot Singh is appointed as the Public Officer, and previous Public Officer Mr Stanley D’Cruz is removed from this position.
4. Mr Navjot Singh will take over the responsibility immediately and will complete formalities with Dept of Fair Trading Dept.
5. Mr Navjot Singh will be the returning Officer who will supervise the election, to be conducted within 30 days from 30/5/2014.
6. Mr Navjot Singh will supervise and execute the process of notice for election of INDAUS Executive committee, seeking help from outgoing President and secretary.
7. EC dissolution will be effective from COB of 30/5/14.
8. Fresh election of EC to be held on/before 30/6/14.
Mr Anil Sharma (Treasurer) came over phone, heard above resolutions, and agreed with them.

Executive Committee also decided to authorize Dr Yadu Singh (current President) to deal with any and all urgent matters, including media enquiries involving INDAUS, while new committee is getting elected. (This part was passed by everyone except Sarath Madhavapeddi, who had left the meeting by this time.)

Meeting minutes written by Dr Yadu Singh

Signed by Meeting chair: Mr Jagdish Lodhia
——————————————————————————————————————-

I urge OFBJP Australia’s Balesh Singh Dhankar, Nitin Gupta, Vijeth Shetty and others to be balanced in their commentary and include INDAUS EC meeting minutes if they can not stop from making senseless comments against us.

This is not a core OFBJP job to abuse community associations and people in them in their mad rush to become community leaders themselves. OFBJP Australia needs to stay away from politics among and inside community associations, and work with all associations for the interests of BJP. If they do not mend their ways, they will be harming OFBJP Australia and BJP.

I am ashamed to have trusted Mr Stanley D’Cruz and Mr Anagan Babu, but that is life.

I did not wish to wash internal laundry publicly but have no option but respond in this manner.

I am happy to answer any question.

Finally, OFBJP Australia guys, with hardly any community service, contribution, or presence, are trying to do what is not their core job. In their mad hurry to be recognized, they get involved in the politics in/among community associations. This is a gross disservice to the interests of BJP. I condemn their behavior.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/8th July, 2014

There isn’t anything which India and Pakistan can’t achieve if they work hard for it!

Narendra Modi
Nawaz Sharif

Mr Narendra Modi will be sworn-in as India’s Prime Minister today, 26th May, 23014.

SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) leaders will be attending this ceremony.

This is for the first time that SAARC leaders have been invited, and are attending a ceremony of this nature. There is no doubt that it has created a lot of goodwill in the region. It is indeed a master-stroke by Mr Modi.

Among all leaders who are attending the ceremony today, attendance of Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, has a special significance.

India and Pakistan have been arch enemies ever since 1947, and have had 4 wars between them, the last being the Kargill war. In the process, they have been spending quite a significant amount of money on defence. This very money could have been used for tackling poverty, improving health facilities and providing better education facilities, if there were better relations between these two nations.

There is a desire, at least among people, for normalisation of relations, but it has not happened. Vested interests have created every possible obstruction in the process.

Terrorism and “Non-state actors”, often with support from Pakistan Army/ISI have been very effective in derailing the peace process. India has had many terrorism related attacks by people linked with terror groups based in Pakistan. Attack on Indian Parliament and Terrorist attack on Mumbai are two most important ones among them.

Army rule in Pakistan for most of the years after 1947 has not helped.

I am sure that Pakistan will also have its list of grievances against India, but we need to move on, instead of repeating the blame game against one another. It is not going to be productive.

We have to take note that things have changed as Pakistan had a civilian Govt for a full 5years period recently and then had a peaceful change of the Govt via a democratic election, leading to PML-N coming to the power. Mr Nawaz Sharif of PML-N is the Prime Minister of Pakistan now. He has a popular mandate with him. He is experienced and pragmatic. During election campaign, Mr Sharif spoke repeatedly about the need to have better relations with India.

It is very heartening to see that not only Mr Sharif is attending the swearing-in of Mr Modi, but in a gesture of good will, his wife, Mrs Kulsoom Sharif and son, Mr Hussain Nawaz Sharif, are accompanying him to New Delhi too.

Mr Sharif has said, before leaving for New Delhi that he is travelling to India with a “Message of Peace”. Pakistan is also releasing 150 Fishermen today as a gesture of good will.

India and Pakistan must bury the past and start a new beginning. Normalisation of their relations is in the interest for people of both countries. It is a no-brainer.

Pragmatism is required from the leaders of both countries.

Leaders of both countries need to show leadership.

Peace between two countries is possible if they,

  • Get after the terrorist groups who do not want peace in the region and eliminate them,
  • Do not allow terror groups to operate from their soil,
  • Change the mind-set of agencies which are against peace between two countries
  • Have supremacy of civilian Govt in regards to Foreign Affairs and trade,
  • Put “K” on the back-burner for at least 25 years and going for an “Out of Box”, pragmatic and practical understanding on Kashmir, instead of repeating the stated position ad nauseum, recognising that no third party including UNO can/will resolve this issue,
  • Provide MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to each other without any further delay,
  • Encourage tourism between two countries

I am quoting Mr Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s Tweets, which I found very enlightening and encouraging.

“Why can’t India and Pakistan team up to win the wars against diseases, illiteracy and poverty? We can …”

“Why India and Pakistan have to be the prisoners of the past? Should bury the enmity & start afresh. #PakIndiarelations”

“I personally think cordial relations with new Indian govt should be cultivated. Will help remove psychological barriers, fear & misgivings.”

India and Pakistan do not need to be like Koreas. They can be like European countries, where borders do not mean much, but this will only happen if leaders act like statesmen, with honesty and determination, and if terrorists have no role in the polity at any cost.

Nothing is going to work if they do not address “trust deficit”, which is the mother of all problems between the two nations! Words and solemn promises/assurances must be worth believing, without which nothing will change in regards to India-Pakistan relations!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/26th May, 2014

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Tamil Nadu politics can’t be the sole basis for India’s relations with Sri Lanka!

 

ImageOn 26th May, 2014, Mr Narendra Modi will take the oath for Prime Minister of India. Leaders from all South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) nations have been invited. Many, if not all, are attending this ceremony. Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa too will be in New Delhi for the event.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha of AIDMK and DMK president, M Karunanidhi have voiced opposition to Mr Rajpaksa’s invitation and presence in this ceremony.

Even though it is understandable, it should, and will not, be the only basis for India’s Foreign policy.

India is surrounded by countries, where China is trying to increase its influence, politically and militarily. India needs to work actively to counter it. India needs to have co-operative and friendly relations with these countries.

This is for the first time that SAARC leaders have been invited for an event of this nature. It is a great beginning. It is smart politics too because it creates better relations, and also creates camaraderie among the leaders.

India needs to create better relations in the region, which will be great for trade, investment and regional security. It will also help its anti-terrorism strategies.

India can not start seeing the relations in the region from one specific dimension, because relations with the nations are always multi-dimensional. No one segment of Indians or regions can be given a monopoly or veto to dictate India’s foreign policy. Populism alone is never a great basis for any policy, and Foreign affairs policy is no exception.

India’s relations with Sri Lanka are obviously multi-dimensional, and must remain so. Feelings from Tamil Nadu politicians alone can not, and must not, be allowed to dictate Indo-Sri Lanka relations.

I am intensely sympathetic to human right issues for Tamil population of Sri Lanka, and wish that Sri Lanka Govt works actively to address and remove those issues. It is imperative for a Govt of any country to work with the people of that country to remove issues in regards to human rights and dignity.

India has voiced its misgivings and concerns about human right issues in Sri Lanka on many occasions, and has been encouraging Sri Lanka to make progress in this regard. India, in my view, should continue to pursue these matters vigorously and sensibly with Sri Lanka, without resorting to Megaphone diplomacy.

There is no denying, in my view, that India will be more effective in ensuring better and fairer treatment of Sri Lankan Tamils, if it has friendly and co-operative relations with Sri Lanka and is fully as well as meaningfully engaged with Sri Lanka.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23rd May, 2014

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With BJP/NDA Govt led by Narendra Modi, a new era dawns in India!

Narendra Modi

Sydney, 16th May, 2014.

Indian elections were a mammoth exercise, going for around 2 months. There were 930,000 polling booths, using 1.7 million voting machines for >500 million voters. These are precisely the factors why India is the largest democracy of the world.

Indian channels and newspapers were beaming the results of Indian elections on 16th May, 2014. With the trends available at 3PM Sydney time, it was clear that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will form the next Govt. Mr Narendra Modi of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the biggest constituent of NDA, was going to be India’s next Prime Minister.

It became clear that NDA will have more than 300 MPs and BJP itself will have 272+ MPs. Congress-led UPA Govt seems to have been routed in a landslide victory for BJP/NDA.

At the end of counting of votes, BJP scored 284 seats (MPs) in Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and NDA scored 336 of the total 543 MPs. Congress was limited to only 44 MPs and much-hyped Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could get only 4 MPs, despite the pre-polling claim of >100 AAP MPs.

BJP has managed a majority for itself. It is for the first time in the last 30 years when a political party has managed a majority for itself. It is not a mean feat!

This is a spectacular result from all parameters, and credits for this go to Mr Modi and his team. He ravelled extensively all over India, holding rallies, road-shows, Chai Pe Charcha (Tea Parties), and reaching out to people extensively via regular media and social media. Friends and supporters of BJP overseas too took part in political discourses, usually via social media, creating pro-BJP atmosphere in their circles back in India.

Despite the denials by political adversaries of BJP and Modi, there is no denying that there was a Modi “Lehar” (Wave). Scams after scams during the term of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Govt led by Dr Manmohan Singh created a massive aversion to Congress-led Govt in the minds of people. They have had enough.

India will now have a stable Govt. This is good for India’s economic growth and development, and Governance. It is also good for India’s international affairs. Trade and investment from all over the world will increase. This will be a great outcome.

Indians all over the world will rejoice with the result of Indian election because they are sick and tired of;

  • vote bank politics
  • caste-based politics
  • pseudo-secularism
  • religion-based politics
  • region-based politics
  • corruption
  • Poor governance
  • policy paralysis
  • stagnation in the economy
  • poor management of foreign affairs
  • poor management of India’s borders
  • dynasty-based politics

Indians deserve better. They do not need to be divided based on their caste or religions. They do not want to be “used” by politicians as “vote-banks”. Indians are all Indians, with no superior or inferior claim on their Indian-ness or rights for economic growth and development.

Indians are truly sick and tired of “He is communal and I am secular” commentary by politicians for vested interest. Enough of this nonsense!

We have a leader in Mr Narendra Modi, who is focused on economic growth and development, good governance and has pan-India appeal.

He is decisive, determined and experienced, beside being assertive and eager.

He is able and capable to implement  “Eik Bharat, Shrestha Bharat” (One India, Better India), following “Development for all, appeasement for none”, because all Indians have equal claim on India and have equal right for development, without any consideration for their caste, religion or regional background.

A new era is going to dawn with the outcome of the Indian election and with Mr Modi as India’s new Prime Minister!

Congrats to Indians! Congrats to BJP and NDA! Congrats to Mr Narendra Modi!

Overseas Indians all over the world, just like Indians in India, burst into a joyous mood on 16th May, throwing celebratory parties wherever they were living. Australia was no exception, where several celebratory parties were organised by Indian Australians all over Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh/16th May, 2014

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Overseas Indians need genuine dual- citizenship!

With my informal discussion and interactions with Indians living overseas, it is clear to me that they want a genuine dual citizenship. Anything less is not going to satisfy their demands.

I know Indian Govt is working on a Bill, which will be introduced in Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) soon, after having already been passed by Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament), to replace PIO and OCI cards with a single card, named “Overseas Indian Card”. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinions/30048500.cms

My suggestion is that they should stop this process, and let the new Govt, after soon to be held Lok Sabha election, have a fresh look at this matter.

Just in case you have some confusion as to who is NRI (Non-Resident Indian), PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI Overseas Citizen of Indian) is, please see the link below. http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf

I can see that replacing PIO and OCI cards with a single “Overseas Indian Card” may be a good idea, provided,

1. Govt does not impose any cost to those with these cards while replacing current OCI/PIO cards with “Overseas Indian Card”,
2. the process to replace PIO/OCI cards with Overseas Indian Cards is simple, automatic and not cumbersome,
3. the new card is valid for life Long,
4. A fee for Overseas Indian Card is reasonable, not expensive.

But I do not believe it is enough. It’s no point to make a half-hearted effort!

What Overseas Indians need is a genuine dual citizenship of India, with full political and economic rights. India’s reluctance to offer Overseas Indians a true “Dual Citizenship” is difficult to understand.

India keeps forgetting that overseas Indians are no less patriotic than Indians living in India,

Overseas Indians, whether they hold Indian Passports or have Overseas Passports, love India. They have an emotional bond with India. This is true for a great majority of people with Indian heritage.

If India is really serious in looking after Overseas Indians, and wishes to tap into this network for variety of purposes, it should consider;

a. Giving Indian passports (Dual citizenship) to overseas Citizens of Indian heritage with full rights including political rights,
b. giving convenient voting rights to such dual passport holders as well as Indian passport holders (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the Consulate, High Commission or Embassy premises in their country of residence or through postal or Online facilities. Postal Voting rights, after all, are allowed for India’s diplomatic staff, serving outside India.

In regards to NRIs (Indians living overseas but holding Indian passports), I am aware that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is in favor of granting convenient voting rights to them via postal, online or voting at the Consulate/Embassies/High Commissions, and has already submitted a memorandum to Election Commission of India in January 2014. http://tinyurl.com/mz7ap46

Indian passportThis is a good beginning, but this too is not sufficient. BJP needs to move towards agreeing to support genuine dual citizenship for overseas Indians. BJP should take this matter with full force and sincerity.

Many countries allow dual-citizenships. India will not be the only one. This link http://www.dlgimmigration.com/united-states-citizenship/list-of-countries-that-allow-or-disallow-dual-citizenship/ will tell you which country allows dual-citizenship, and which doesn’t. Many of the developed countries like UK, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Finland and France see no issue in dual-citizenship, and these countries are no less security-conscious, if that was the reason why India is reluctant to offer dual-citizenship.

Nobody can argue against India’ right to reject applications for Indian Passports (dual-citizenship) to Overseas citizens of Indian heritage if they have security issues or are associated with terrorist/separatist anti-India groups. Nobody can deny this right to India, but why to deny dual-citizenship to huge majority of patriotic Indians living overseas, just because a small minority of overseas Indians involve themselves in anti-India activities or terrorism.

Making things simpler for Indians living overseas will be a smart move. Currently, NRIs must register their names in the voter lists at their place of residence in India, before they left India, and be physically present there to vote, which is practically very inconvenient, and financially prohibitive.

Indian constitution allows NRIs to vote in theory, but Govt has not done anything to make it convenient for >10 million (>1 crore) NRIs, despite its lofty claims!

I do not know how many PIOs/OCIs are there in the world, but it will be safe to assume there will be at least 10 million PIOs/OCIs.

Looking after 20 million overseas Indians (NRIs, PIOs and OCIs), with decent, practical and helpful policies, will be a smart thing for India!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/4th March, 2014
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Overseas Indian Card, replacing PIO and OCI cards, is good, but not enough. We need genuine dual citizenship

Indian passportIndian Govt is working on a Bill, which will be introduced in Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) soon, after having already been passed by Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament), to replace PIO and OCI cards with a single card, named “Overseas Indian Card”. imagehttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinions/30048500.cms

NRI (Non-Resident Indian), PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI Overseas Citizen of Indian) words do create some confusion for many people.

The Link below might help you understand what these names mean. http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf

I think, replacing PIO and OCI cards with “Overseas Indian Card” it is a good idea, provided,

1. Govt does not impose any cost to those with these cards while replacing current OCI/PIO cards with “Overseas Indian Card”,
2. the process to replace PIO/OCI cards with Overseas Indian Cards is simple, automatic and not cumbersome,
3. the new card is valid for life Long,
4. Fees for Overseas Indian Card is reasonable, not expensive.

I do not see any issue with the requirement that the sticker for the OCI/PIO card or their replacement “Overseas Indian Card” should be pasted in the current passport. If we have to renew our Passports, we will need to have the “Overseas Indian Card” sticker transferred to the new Passport. It should however not cost more than a reasonable amount ie $50-100.00.

While at it, we should not miss the real issue in regards to Overseas Indians-NRIs, PIOs and OCIs. This is about India’s reluctance to offer Overseas Indians a true “Dual Citizenship”.

Overseas Indians, whether they hold Indian Passports or have Overseas Passports, love India. They have an emotional bond with India. This is true for a great majority of people with Indian heritage.

If India is really serious in looking after Overseas Indians, and wishes to tap into this network for variety of purposes, it should consider;

a. Giving Indian passports (Dual citizenship) to overseas Citizens of Indian heritage with full rights including political rights,
b. giving convenient voting rights to such dual passport holders as well as Indian passport holders (NRIs), which can be exercised either at the Consulate, High Commission or Embassy premises in their country of residence or through postal or Online facilities. Postal Voting rights, after all, are allowed for India’s diplomatic staff, serving outside India.

Nobody can argue against India’ right to reject applications for Indian Passports to Overseas citizens of Indian heritage if they have security issues or are associated with terrorist/separatist anti-India groups, if a thorough security investigation finds evidence of such background.

In regards to NRIs (Indians living overseas but holding Indian passports), I am aware that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is in favour of granting convenient voting rights to them via postal, online or voting at the Consulate/Embassies/High Commissions, and has already submitted a memorandum to Election Commission of India in January 2014. https://ofbjp.org/sites/default/files/Memorandum%20to%20CEC%20VS%20Sampath%20on%20NRIs%20Voting%20Issue%20English.pdf

Currently, NRIs must register their names in the voter lists at their place of residence in India, before they left India, and be physically present there to vote, which is practically very inconvenient, and financially prohibitive.

Indian constitution allows NRIs to vote in theory, but Govt has not done anything to make it convenient for >10 million (>1 crore) NRIs, despite its lofty claims!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/12th Feb, 2014
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