On eve of Pravasi Diwas, Centre starts merging PIO, OCI schemes

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Ahmedabad
  • Updated: Jan 06, 2015 23:47 IST

Just a day before the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) kickstarts on Wednesday, the Centre promulgated an ordinance that seeks to merge Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes, by which PIOs will also get life-long Indian visa.

The amendments to the Citizenship Act will benefit PIOs and will give them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit. The ordinance fulfills Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to the Indian diaspora in New York of a merger of the two schemes.

The three-day meet to be officially inaugurated by Modi on January 8, will have special focus on Gandhian ideals and vision of India as the ‘Vishwa-Guru’ of the world. One of the plenary sessions, ‘Gandhian Thought in Context of the 21st Century: A Youth Perspective’ is to be attended by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and PV Rajagopal, vice chairman, Gandhi Peace Foundation.

Meanwhile, Gandhinagar has been decked up to hold the event in Gandhi’s home state to mark the centenary of his return from South Africa to India in 1914.

“We have created a special Dandi Kutir at Mahatma Mandir, the venue of the event in Gandhinagar, which is an exhibition showcasing all important events of Bapu’s life,” Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel said.

The chief guest at the event would be Guyana President Donald Ramotar, who will be presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

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