Launched in January 2006, the Overseas Indian Citizenship card
scheme has turned out to be a great success which is clearly evident
by the rising demand for OCI
OCI scheme has been announced at the Pravasi
Bhartiya Divas 2006. Since then, around 90,000 cards
have been issued till date, says Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas
As for the eligibility criteria, any Person
of Indian origin staying in countries that allow dual citizenship
can apply for the card. An OCI card holder is allowed to enjoy
all the benefits as available to any Indian citizen except for
right to vote and the right to hold constitutional posts like
the president, vice-president or a judge of the Supreme Court
or high courts.
There have been complaints from many countries about delays in
consular services. Increased size of the Indian
Diaspora is believed to be one of the factors accountable
for the problem. However, the government is planning to come up
with more consulates in countries where the population of Non
Resident Indians (NRIs) has crossed half a million.
Another compliant of card holders is regarding the fee being
charged for the places of tourist highlights. “The authorities
are charging the fee that is applicable to foreign tourists and
not the fee that is applicable to Indian citizens”, says
one of the cardholders.
The government is trying to resolve the problem and the results
will come soon, adds Ravi.
Another problem faced by Indians residing abroad is a technicality
in applying for the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card.
As such, descendants of Indians who had migrated in the 19th
and early 20th centuries have shown their inclination towards
these OCI cards. Now, every PIO
applicant is required to show the embarkation cards issued to
their forefathers when they had boarded the ships to different
countries. This is what every interested candidate is finding
difficult to produce.
"We are consulting with the home ministry as it is a matter
of national security and we hope to resolve this problem soon,"