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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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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NRIs get the voting rights in India.

 

There is a good news for Non-Resident Indians [NRIs]. Prime Minister, Hon Mr Man Mohan Singh and Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi, have announced on 24th Nov, 2010 that NRIs will  get the voting rights in India. It does not matter how long they have been away from India. They are now able to have their names in the voter list. The only catch is that they will have to be in India on the day of voting. Election Commission of India has been asked to make necessary changes in its rules and regulations.

I think it is a right step. There are more than 11 Million NRIs all over the world. Not all will be interested to be in India to enjoy their voting rights but it will certainly help those who want to do that. Previously, NRIs must have lived in India for al least 6 months before their names could go in the voter lists. No such need any more.

I think the Indian Gov should have gone a bit further here. They should have made provisions for NRIs to be able to vote irrespective of whether they were in India or not on the day of voting. They could have gone to the nearby Indian consulates/Embassies/High Commissions to vote or even better, they could have sent  postal votes.

While this is all good, India needs to move forward a lot more in regards to dual citizenship. Several western countries have already done this. Australia, NZ, UK and USA already have it. To say that it has security implications for India is not a valid argument. There are lot more enemies of India inside India. One example is “that” IAS officer who was selling secrets while working in the Ministry of Home affairs. Another example was “that” officer in RAW who was doing anti-India activities and later fled to USA when he was about  to be arrested. Yet another example is that wretched woman in Indian High Commission in Islamabad who was working for Pakistan.

I believe, just like the vast majority of People of Indian Origin [PIOs] all over the world, that India should allow dual citizenship. People will need to quit their non-Indian citizenships before taking up any constitutional position in India. This is the way Australia manages this issue.

A smart and progressive thinking is required from the Indian Government. India should strengthen the emotional and political linkage with PIOs who are a great asset for their motherland. This, it can do, by granting dual citizenships as long as security and character issues have been cleared for such PIOs.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_the_PIO_and_NRI
http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf

Yadu Singh/Sydney/25th Nov, 2010

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