Citizenship and Related Issues

Issues with MHA notification for OCI


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Difference between OCI and NRI

Mains level: Paper 2- Issues faced by OCI

About notification

  • The Home Ministry’s March 4 order that required professional Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), such as journalists, engineers and researchers, to notify the Ministry about their activities in India.
  • The notification said that OCIs shall be required to obtain a “special permission or a special permit” from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or the Indian mission “to undertake research, missionary or Tabligh or mountaineering or journalistic activities or internship in any foreign diplomatic missions
  • The Ministry issued a gazette notification that OCI cardholders could claim “only NRI (Non-Resident Indian) quota seats” in educational institutions.

Issues with the notification

  • This will place undue burden on scientific, pharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology and other research fields.
  • Even if an OCI student has secured a high rank in an exam like NEET, several institutions of repute do not have NRI seats.
  • The exorbitantly high fees under the NRI quota cannot be afforded by many OCIs as they live and work in India.
  • India-domiciled OCI students are deprived of domicile status both in India [country of residence] as well as the country of their citizenship.
  • The notification equates India-domiciled OCIs with a foreigner.

About OCIs

  • OCIs are of Indian origin but hold foreign passports.
  • India does not allow dual citizenship but provides certain benefits under Section 7B(I) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 to the OCIs.
  • So far, 37.72 lakh OCI Cards are said to have been issued.

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