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GOPIO hails cut in NRI fees

The Global Organization of PIOs welcomes the decision to cut higher prices for NRIs visiting India.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 13:29 IST

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), the foremost body of overseas Indians which has fought for their rights since its formation in 1989, has welcomed the decision of the government of India to do away higher tariffs for NRIs visiting India.

Till now, the NRI visitors have been paying more to hotels, airlines and even while visiting museums and historical monuments.

GOPIO, which had fought for dual citizenship and PIO cards for overseas Indians, has been asking for "equal treatment" for NRIs on these matters: air fares, hotel tariffs, and entry fee for historical monuments.

According to GOPIO president Inder Singh, higher tariffs were an act of outright discrimination against NRIs.

"And there was no reason to continue with this dual policy when the government of India has granted dual citizenship to us," said Singh, "Even at our last conference in Hyderabad in January, we had passed a resolution seeking abolition of higher tariffs on overseas Indians."

"Our resolution had said that it is a poor policy to differentiate between the citizens of India and NRIs/PIOs for the same entrance ticket to the archeological sites such as the Taj Mahal," Singh continued, "We have the same commitment as native Indians for the progress of India. It is good thinking on the part of the Indian government that they have decided to stop this discriminatory practice."

According to him, GOPIO representatives had met the then Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Oscar Fernandes, and Secretary, Krishna Kumar, during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meeting to give a copy of the resolution.

"I met Fernandes and spoke to him on the resolution. Our resolution committee chairman Piyush Agrawal too met Prithviraj Chavan, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on this issue,'' Singh said.

The GOPIO president was happy to note that the government of India not only acted promptly but also went a step further by doing away with this practice for all foreign visitors whether they are of Indian origin or not.

"India was one of the few countries in the globalised world which was following this outdated policy of charging more from foreign visitors for things like attending a conference or visiting the Taj Mahal," Singh added.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 13:29 IST