Over 500,000 Overseas Indian Cards issued: Ravi
New Delhi, April 22, 2010:
The government has issued 576,000 Overseas Indian Cards (OICs) while 9,000 applications are pending, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said Thursday.
"We have so far issued 576,000 OIC cards. Nine thousand applications are pending because the forms are incomplete. We have asked the applicants to correct these and we will then issue the cards," the minister said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
Responding to a supplementary from Shantaram Naik (Congress), Ravi clarified that the OIC was not a substitute for a visa for NRIs travelling to India.
"There have been 10 instances of people being stopped at airports because they showed the OIC card but not their visa as this was on an old passport. The solution for this is for both passports to be stapled together," Ravi pointed out.
Responding to another supplementary from Naik, Ravi said there was no proposal to grant voting rights to the holders of OIC cards.
"We do not have the concept of dual citizenship. So there can be no voting rights (for OIC holders)," he said.
Responding to a supplementary from Tarlochan Singh (Independent), he said NRIs living in Pakistan and Bangladesh were not eligible for these cards.
"This is an old decision."
The minister also said his ministry would take up with the Election Commission the question of retaining the voting rights of Indian citizens who stay abroad for prolonged periods.
"It is the intention of the government to confer voting rights on such individuals. We will take it up with the Election Commission," Ravi said.