Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, at 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, have introduced a new major reform, lauding the deep and emotional attachments of Indian Diasporas in Girmitiya countries. He told that PIOs to obtain Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards by June 30.
“We have extended the deadline to convert PIO cards into OCI cards to June 30 from December 31, without penalty,” said Modi at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations.
“We have also set up special immigration counters at New Delhi and Bengaluru airports since January 1 for OCI card holders. Similar counters will be opened at more airports in the country,” he added.
The fourth or fifth generation of descendants of indentured Indian labourers are called Girmityas. These are the people who during the 19th century went to the Caribbean islands, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa to work on agricultural fields and settled down in these countries.
PM has also said that the government is working on new measures to expedite the descendants of Girmitiyas in Mauritius become qualified for OCI cards.
“We are committed to addressing similar difficulties of PIOs in Fiji, Reunion Islands, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean states,” said Modi.
PM Modi acknowledged three crore people of Indian origin were living across the world who are not only respected for their numbers, but also for the inputs they have made to societies they live in.
“The NRIs and PIOs have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields. They are role models for immigrants from other backgrounds and countries. They take with them our values and culture wherever they go,” told Modi at the occasion.
He also expressed that connecting with the diaspora it was special for him, for which made India proud on the world stage. Modi also assured that the government is striving to deepen the outreach with NRIs and PIOs.
“Overseas Indians have also made an invaluable contribution to the Indian economy, including 69-billion dollar-worth remittances in 2016. We are strengthening processes at our embassies and consulates to facilitate their easier travel to India,” told Modi at the event.