Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, who has just returned from a trip to Canada and the US, on Thursday said the SAD-BJP government had failed to check negative publicity on the social media that had spoiled its image.
"The public relations department has to play a proactive role," Chandumajra said, adding that NRIs from Punjab and the Punjab government officials were hesitant and apprehensive of each other but the ongoing tour of ministers from Punjab and office-bearers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had helped them get closer to the Punjabi and Sikh diaspora in foreign countries.
Speaking on the issues concerning Indians seeking political asylum in the US and Canada, Chandumajra said they be given treatment as economic asylum seekers by the Indian government and the Indian laws be amended accordingly. "Most people seeking asylum in foreign countries are there because of economic reasons as they had gone there in search of livelihood," he said, adding that not only Punjabis, a large number of people from Gujarat and southern states were seeking political asylum in foreign countries. As these Indians are still to get a clear resident status there, they be issued Indian passports and allowed to travel to India. "We will raise the issue in Parliament in the forthcoming session," Chandumajra said.
He also hinted at taking up the issue of the blacklist with the Centre, accepting that there is no clarity on the blacklist and it is expanding with time.
Chandumajra told the media that the achievements of the Punjab government were discussed with NRIs, especially regarding better connectivity, power-surplus status, cleanliness after Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched by the Modi government, and making easy the working of the revenue department.
He recommended opening more Indian visa offices in different cities of the US and Canada as people had to travel long distances to get it.