The Union home ministry has extended the time limit for Persons of Indian origin (PIO) cardholders to register as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) till June 30, after the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year on the union of PIO and OCI.
PIO can assure all research themselves under the new procedure of Modi government to create a fresh database of all Indian diaspora around the world.
Government estimate confirms PIO records as around two lakhs. The MHA and MEA are waiting for all PIO to register themselves as OCI so that they can make a new database.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing thousands of Indian Americans at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2015, had promised to ease their travel to India and remove the inconsistency between India and foreign nationals for those who hold Persons of Indian Origin or PIO cards and those who have Overseas Citizenship of India or OCI cards.
The home ministry is eager to attain all PIOs on the panel by June 30. It asked all posts, foreign regional registration offices and bureau of immigration to hold the target as it continues the profit of change. The plan will provide all PIOs multiple-entry, multi-purpose life-long visa and faster immigration clearances as well.
According to earlier process, PIO cards holders was allowed visa-free travel to India for 15 years and if they stayed in the country for more than 180 days, they had to register with the police. The scheme had created uncertainty and demand for removing one scheme to get relief to the Overseas Indian Citizens.
But under the fresh rules and regulations, all the individuals holding PIO card status under OCI will be granted rights, benefits and guarantee of the OCI scheme. PIO card holders will be considered as OCI card holders, said officials adding that they have to register as OCI cardholders to complete the formalities. This will be helpful for people with Indian origin and foreigners married to Indians.(inputs from agencies)