pros and cons of dual citizenship with India

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Member since: Jul 04
Posts: 231

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 21-09-05 11:38:07

Hello everyone
I know this topic is discussed several times in one or the other threads. but I want to get some more detailed information of dual citizenship (afcourse if it happens one day). should we go 4 it or not? what are the pros and cons of dual citizenship? If anyone having information regarding this then please share it with others.
thank you

Learn from past mistakes, Plan for future, Live in Present by Duncan

Member since: Sep 04
Posts: 447
Location: Mississauga

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 21-09-05 11:47:19

That is a good question, but how can you determine that before dual citizenship is actually in place. I know that the rules are more or less announced but we don't know until dual citizeship is really fully in effect.
I for one, can't think of too many cons if and when it is fully implemented.

Member since: Sep 05
Posts: 33

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 21-09-05 14:50:57

Before people aim thier guns at me ( like it happens on this forum a lot), I would like to "categorically state" (the term the Bharat Sarkar uses all the time) that this is just my opinion, and I do NOT claim to be right.

If I had the option, I would be a citizen of just one Country. By being a dual citizen, there is one risk. The other country may NOT recognize your Canadian Citizenship (and this is given in the passport issued by Canada). The next time you need help from the nearest Canadian High commmision, you probably can't (if you are a dual citizen).

Besides, what is the purpose of having dual citizenship (apart from not having to get a visa to India). One will always remain "Unsettled" mentally, as long you belong to two countries.

desi in ottawa   
Member since: May 04
Posts: 1627

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 21-09-05 15:22:13

As I know, Pakistan has dual citizenship with Canada. Those folks should be able to tell what are the pros/cons.

Being a dual citizen, u cant vote or have govt job in India (as if our vote counts). I think this is no different from the PIO card. Also it takes nearly a year to get the overseas indian citizenship certificate as the application has to go to New Delhi for approval.


Member since: Mar 05
Posts: 454
Location: London, ON

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 21-09-05 22:29:11

Dual citizenship is not only about rights but also responsibilities as well.

1. Income earned by a person holding dual citizenship is subject to taxation ( or atleast the difference of tax between India and Canada ) This is not publicized but will definitely be somewhere in the fine print , once the actual rules are made public.

2. Also there is no clarity on this issue until now . There is a talk of a Smart Card for NRI's. In what way is it different from PIO and Dual ?

3. If one person obtains a dual citizenship, does he/she have the option of relinquishing it ?

4. what are the legal obligations attached to this Dual citizenship

5. If you visit India, are you subject to Indian laws and treated as an Indian citizen or as a foreign citizen on a visit to India

So let the rules be made clear ( which would not be anytime soon ) so that a meaningful discussion can take place

Non illigitamus carborundum

Member since: Jan 04
Posts: 1754
Location: Ottawa (Now in Bangalore)

Post ID: #PID Posted on: 22-09-05 02:07:55

No, it's not Dual Citizenship
By Vijay Rana

Sorry folks, you are not going to get Dual Citizenship that you have been waiting for years. In January 2003, Prime Minster Atal Behari Vajpayee might have pledged to give you Dual Citizenship. The high powered LM Singhvi Committee might have promised you the same and the official Pravasi Diwas website might have still carrying a page titled as Dual Citizenship, the truth is you are not going to get it.

It will be something quite different than you hoped for, not Dual Citizenship, but a much-restricted 'Overseas Citizenship of India'. It’s now confirmed.

A few months back in a letter to the community groups in America Anil K Gupta, the Minister of Community Affairs in the Indian Embassy in Washington, has candidly clarified: “It may kindly be noted that Overseas Citizenship is not a full citizenship of India and therefore does not amount to dual citizenship or dual nationality.”

There is so far no mention of an Indian passport given to those who will be opting for the overseas citizenship. Under the proposed scheme, the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) will be able to obtain a “Certificate of Registration” and will be registered only as

overseas citizen of India. They will have to pay a fee of US $275 and it will take up to four months to process their application. This Certificate of Registration will be valid for life unless renounced or cancelled.

An overseas citizen will enjoy all the rights and privileges currently available to the NRIs. But there is an additional privilege for those downwardly mobile PIOs, keen to return to their villages, that as overseas citizens of India they will be able to buy agriculture and plantation land, a new benefit, which is currently not available to the PIOs. Ask yourself how many of PIOs will grab this offer of return to nature. Thanks to the generosity to the babus of South block.

While PIO card is for a maximum period of 15 years the registration certificate will be for life and the holders will be able to travel to India without a Visa. “The essential difference between PIO Card and Registration Certificate is that while PIO Card can also be used as a travel document, the Registration Certificate cannot be so used,” informs Gupta.

Though in Delhi, London and Washington nobody is prepared to confirm, we are unofficially told that there might be a possibility of a specially designated passport for overseas citizens of India.

We are told that this registration certificate or passport, if it comes, will have to be accompanied with the passport of the resident nation. For Example while landing on Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi a UK national and overseas citizen of India will have to show both the UK passport and overseas citizenship certificate/passport. Your overseas Indian document will not be valid alone and will not let you in India unless accompanied by your foreign passport.

At the moment it looks that this overseas Indian certificate/passport could not be used in any country other than India. For example, a PIO holding a UK passport and an overseas Indian document while travelling from London to Toronto could only travel on his or her UK passport.

The essence of the matter is that you will only be an Overseas Citizen of India while travelling to India and within India. Outside India, you will not be able to claim yourself as an Indian citizen.

Let’s compare the situation with our Pakistani friends. It was in the sixties their government decided to give them full and unrestricted dual citizenship. Today a British Pakistani dual citizen has a choice. If he wants to travel, for example, to America or say Brazil, he can travel on either passport, British or Pakistani. He can go to America or Brazil and can proudly say that he is a Pakistani.

But an overseas Indian citizen, while abroad, will not be able to claim that they are citizens of India, because the certificate of registration will only be valid for presentation at an Indian port of entry. It will not treated as a travel document for any other country.

Remember it is for this restricted overseas citizenship, prime ministers, past and present, have made many widely applauded announcements, ministers and high powered committees have undertaken numerous foreign trips earning gratitude of the NRI communities and bureaucrats have travelled around the world addressing NRI organisations.

So, what do the PIOs and NRIs get out of this huge, expansive and seemingly endless exercise that began with the lollypop of dual citizenship. According to Gupta, the Minister of Community Affairs in the Indian Embassy in Washington, “ an Overseas Citizen of India will enjoy all rights and privileges available to NRIs, including investment in agriculture and plantation properties, which is currently not available to PIO cardholders. There would be no visa requirement for travel to India. The person would have to carry his/her existing foreign passport along with Registration Certificate. The person so travelling would not be required to complete registration formalities for his/her stay in India. All facilities as available to children of NRIs for getting admission to educational institution in India including Medical and Engineering Colleges, Management Institutes etc. under the general category and membership of various housing scheme etc. will be open to holders of Certificate of Registration.”

Now the catch here is once the overseas citizens are placed in general category, they will have to forfeit their special category privileges, like the NRI special quota for flats and houses or NRI quota for admission to professional institutions. One can guess at some stage the priority banking benefits such as higher interest rates on NRI deposits will be withdrawn and the NRI tax benefits also might vanish. So, it’s a give and take process.

The point was very strongly made in an interview to Times of India in February 2005 by Prof. Jagdish Bhgawati of Columbia University: "Along with citizenship rights NRIs will have to accept other obligations as well… This is part of my societal obligation as a wealthier person. That fact that I am wealthy and sitting in Silicon Valley or New York or London, that doesn't mean I shouldn't have any obligation to my country. I will be happy to pay a tax that goes with my citizenship right. If I don't want to do that I don't have to enjoy the citizenship right either.”

Prof. Bhagwati is right you can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time.

But there are two questions one for the readers of this article and the other for Prof Bhagwati. How many of our NRI and PIO readers are prepared to sacrifice special privileges such as reservation for admissions in professional institutes, priority allotment for property, tax benefits and higher rate on NRI savings in exchange for the Overseas Indian Citizenship and the promised Certificate of Registration?

Professor Bhagwati, who proudly told the Times of India, “as soon as the dual citizenship comes up, I will regain my old one which I had to renounce in 1992”, doesn’t seem to realise that what he is being offered is not a dual citizenship but a much restricted overseas citizenship.

After the imposition of tax on NRI earnings will come to the question of withdrawing the higher interest rate on the NRI deposits. After acquiring overseas citizenship, why should the NRIs, the equal partners in India’s pain and pleasure, enjoy higher returns on their savings? From an Indian’s viewpoint, it seems to be a fair argument. But the question is once the attraction of higher interest rates on the NRI savings is gone how many of the NRIs or PIOs will take the trouble of depositing their savings in the ICICI Bank or the State Bank of India.

Indian economic growth might seriously be undermined if NRI deposits are discouraged. According to World Bank statistics, quoted in a PTI report, dated 16 April 2005,the NRI remittances were higher than India’s much hyped IT revenues. “Indian workers' remittances to the country from abroad have soared considerably over the years to touch $23 billion in 2004. At the exchange rate that prevailed in 2003, the inward remittances amounted to about Rs. 84,000 crore, which was more than double the amount that government collected as income tax during the financial year.” Even form Government of India’s point of view it will be imprudent to jeopardise this huge source of foreign remittances.

So far, the Overseas Citizenship is a bad bargain for the NRIs. If not thought out properly, it might also have adverse consequences and hamper India’s economic growth. The whole idea of giving from one hand and taking away from the other is an old bureaucratic trick that government of India finds hard to relinquish. The situation was aptly summed up by an English businessman who has huge experience of doing business in India: “If India wants to become a world power it will have to stop thinking like a small country.”

Vijay Rana is the editor of" rel="nofollow">LINK, an oral history web-radio for the NRIs and South Asian communities.

Vijay Rana" rel="nofollow">LINK

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Member since: Jul 04
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Post ID: #PID Posted on: 22-09-05 04:45:15

great job dude, many question arised from that article and at same time many answers have been answered. but I have make up my mind, I will never ever get dual citizenship or that certificate of authority. It will only give more trouble to me, like tax return should be filled in both countries, special previliage of being an NRI will be lost. So better to be canadian and spend the money here for a good sea facing house and well being of all my canadian desis.

Learn from past mistakes, Plan for future, Live in Present by Duncan

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