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Govt plans to revamp outdated emigration policy, top official says

Dnyaneshwar Mulay, secretary, ministry of external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, said: “The current policy of emigration enacted by the government of India is very old and needs to be reworked.”

india Updated: Sep 09, 2018 14:39 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Emigration policy,Dnyaneshwar Mulay,Emigration Act
According to the Emigration Act, 1983, “emigrant” means any citizen of India who intends to emigrate, or emigrates, or has emigrated to another country. (Hindustan Times/Ajay Aggarwal)

The government is in the process of framing a new emigration policy to replace the current one that was framed back in 1983, according to a top bureaucrat.

Dnyaneshwar Mulay, secretary, ministry of external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, said: “The current policy of emigration enacted by the government of India is very old and needs to be reworked.”

He did not elaborate on which parts of the old policy need changing

“Since 1983, the conditions globally have changed significantly. There are many areas where many new things have emerged from the time the earlier policy was drafted,” Mulay added.

The process of working on the new act has already started, he said, although many of the current processes, he admitted, have already moved “ahead of the act.”

According to the Emigration Act, 1983, “emigrant” means any citizen of India who intends to emigrate, or emigrates, or has emigrated to another country.

Refusing to give the estimated time of completion of the new draft, Mulay said: “After the draft is ready, Parliament will have to approve it and only then will the new policy be enacted. Consequently, it is not possible to comment as to when exactly it will be implemented as the entire process will take time to finish.”

Reacting to the government’s decision, Nikhil Varma, who is a practising advocate in the Supreme Court of India and a co-owner of a Delhi-based law firm said, “The current obsolete Act dates back to 1983 and has on several occasions been publicly criticised for its shortcomings.”

People emigrating by bypassing the clearance process and no strict oversight on protector-generals are some of the shortcomings of the current policy, experts said.

According to Varma, another issue is that the current emigration act does not distinguish between regular and irregular emigrants going outside the country. In the new policy, the government must amend this particular section and incorporate some distinctions between the two categories, he said.

Varma pointed out that when the terror outfit Islamic State (IS) had kidnapped 39 Indians in June, 2014, the kidnapped irregular emigrants were not helped by the government as their emigration record was not in order. “The new law must have some humanitarian grounds and consider such genuine cases as well,” he added.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 07:09 IST