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India clears road to dual citizenship

Indian Parliament passed a Bill to grant dual citizenship to people of Indian origin (PIOs) in eight countries including the United Kingdom.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:18 IST

Parliament on Monday passed a Bill to grant dual citizenship to the people of Indian origin, with Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani saying the measure would go a long way to enable this section of people to contribute to the cause of national development.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003, would "enable both Bharatvasis and Bharatvanshis to contribute together to the cause of India's development," he said while replying to a short debate on the legislation which was earlier adopted by the Upper House.

The citizenship will be applicable in eight countries: US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Finland and Australia

Among other things, the Bill, to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, simplifies the procedure to facilitate the reacquisition of Indian citizenship by persons of full age who are children of Indian citizens and former Indian citizens, according to its Statement of Objects and Reasons.

The Bill provides for grant of overseas citizenship of India to persons of Indian origin belonging to 16 specified countries and Indian citizens who choose to acquire citizenship of any of these countries at a later date.

It also makes acquisition of Indian citizenship and naturalisation more stringent and prevent illegal migrants from becoming eligible for Indian citizenship.

Advani said the passage of the Bill would also fulfil the Government's promise to the persons of Indian origin made at the last 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' in January this year and would be announced at the next celebrations on January 9-10.

Participating in the debate, PR Dasmunsi (Congress), PH Pandian (AIADMK) and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) supported it and said the Government should state has to how it would go about to make the intellectual and financial capabilities of the PIOs contribute towards India's development.

First Published: Dec 24, 2003 13:43 IST