Goa Cong says Centre's new OCI notification will 'finish Goans working abroad'
In a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar on Sunday said the 'draconian Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)' notification issued by the Union Home Ministry will 'finish the hard working Goans abroad'.
Addressing a press conference here, Chodankar said that since coming to power, the ruling BJP government in the state "is all out to sell Goa to crony capitalists friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the three linear projects, Railway Double Tracking and Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP)."
The Congress leader said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) notification issued on March 4 dramatically altered the status of OCIs (including Non-Resident Goans).
"The notification issued under Section 7B of the Citizenship Act, 1955, supersedes three earlier notifications issued during the UPA Government's time and laid down the rights of the OCIs. The new notification humiliates and illegally classifies OCIs as "foreign nationals" and introduces a series of new restrictions that dramatically curtails the rights and liberties of OCIs of India," said Chodankar. He alleged that the Central government is working on the behest of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and implementing their ideologies to create more troubles for people.
"They together want to sell Goa to crony capitalist friends of PM Modi," the Congress leader claimed.
Further attacking Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led government in the state, he said "Goa government is not able to give jobs to the people of this state, hence our youths find jobs overseas. This new notification will disconnect them with Goa and also will create hurdles to send money, by creating a wall of bureaucracy, to their families. Hence this notification should be immediately withdrawn as it will further collapse the economy."
Chodankar further claimed that non-resident Goans abroad will now not be able to send money to their families in India without having to go through the hardships of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations.
"Goan OCIs, especially those with Portuguese passports, will not be able to participate in religious activities such as organizing feasts and donating to temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras in Goa," he said.
"I want to remind the BJP Government that the OCI privileges were a gift and a right extended to the Goans overseas from Indian National Congress. Congress Party had implemented the concept not to just give people of Indian origin with foreign national citizenship a right-filled pass to participate in the future of their country of origin but was the first experimental step towards dual citizenship where people like Goans with Portuguese passports would be able to vote in elections in India," he added.
He further claimed that after the new notification, children of OCIs will not be able to study in India at par with other Indian citizens.
"Goans children residing abroad wishing to study in IITs, IIMs, AIIMS will not be able to do so anymore, claimed Girish Chodankar... This bill does not just deny people of Indian origin living abroad their lifelong wish of dual citizenship, it severs the legal and emotional link they have to their motherland," he said.