OCI, PIO cards to be merged

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday announced merging of the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards into a single facility to simplify visafree entry and participation of Indian diaspora in business and other activities here. Singh also said that the government had decided to extended the facility of the Indian Community Welfare Fund to all the Indian missions from the current 42. Hailing the Indian diaspora, he pointed out that the government had introduced the OCI and PIO cards to facilitate visa-free travel of NRIs and Indian Origin people to India as well as to provide them rights of residency and participation in business and educational activities. “We have reviewed the functioning of these schemes, and have decided to merge the OCI and PIO cards into a single facility. We hope to iron out problems that have arisen in the implementation of these schemes,” he said addressing the 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here. To improve the conditions for migration, India signed Social Security Agreements with 12 countries and finalised Labour Mobility Partnerships with two others, he said, adding a generic arrangement is also being negotiated with European Union also. “We have extended the facility of Indian Community Welfare Fund to Indian Missions,” he said. Such funds are available in 42 Missions. Singh said the government decided to establish Indian cultural centres in the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France and Australia.

No comments: