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Over two lakh OCI cards issued in 2019, says Home Ministry report

The govt had relaxed the rules to allow OCI card holders to be eligible for appointment as teaching faculty at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and the new AIIMS set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

, ET Bureau|
Nov 22, 2019, 08.45 AM IST
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Agencies
Home-Ministry-Agencies

A total of 32,53,912 foreign nationals have been registered as OCI cardholders and 4,14,906 OCI cards have been issued in lieu of person of Indian origin (PIO) cards till March 2019.

New Delhi: British citizen Aatish Taseer may have been denied an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, but the Union home ministry has issued over 2 lakh cards in 2019 so far, ET has learnt. The government had relaxed the rules to allow OCI card holders to be eligible for appointment as teaching faculty at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and the new AIIMS set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). The MHA has also granted powers to FRRO, Ahmedabad, to accept OCI applications from foreigners residing in Gujarat. Earlier, these applications were only processed at FRRO, Mumbai.

A total of 32,53,912 foreign nationals have been registered as OCI cardholders and 4,14,906 OCI cards have been issued in lieu of person of Indian origin (PIO) cards till March 2019, according to the home ministry’s annual report for 2018-19. The home ministry had revoked Taseer’s OCI card for concealing the fact that his father is of Pakistan origin.

“Aatish Ali Taseer, while submitting his PIO application, concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistan origin. Taseer was given the opportunity to submit his reply/objections regarding his PIO/OCI cards, but failed to dispute the notice,” the MHA had said. Tasser denied the allegations and said he will contest the government decision. He said he was not given sufficient time to reply – he got only 24 hours, instead of 21 days.

As per the OCI rules, if the parents or grandparents or great grandparents of a person had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, that person is not eligible for registration as an OCI cardholder. An OCI card provides a life-long visa, exemption from registration with FRROs and parity with non-resident Indians (NRIs) in economic, financial and educational fields. It, however, bars OCI card holders from acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.

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