Gurgaon gives sops to Overseas Citizens of India

June 10th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, June 9 (IANS) Offering sops of sorts, the district administration Tuesday announced it would issue Indian driving licenses to Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), putting them on par with non-resident Indians (NRIs). Children of OCIs can also be enrolled in any educational institution here, just like NRI children are. Foreign nationals are denied this option, and their children can only study in international schools, or study in approved universities under mutually agreed quota system.

With this, Gurgaon has become one of the select cities to put in place a mechanism that brings some sort of parity in status between OCIs and NRIs.

OCIs are people of Indian extract but are citizens of another country, and hold an OCI card under a special scheme introduced in 2006.

NRIs, also settled abroad, on the other hand may or may not be citizens of the country they are settled in; they definitely do not hold an OCI card.

Now, anyone holding an OCI card in Gurgaon is entitled to both options - enrolment in schools and driving licenses - which the NRIs enjoy during their stay in India, district magistrate Rakesh Gupta said.

The registration booklets they hold will be treated as their identification proof, Gupta added.

Gurgaon is dotted with multinational companies (MNCs) employing both foreign nationals as well as people of Indian origin from various countries who hold OCI cards; their stay could be either for business purpose, or because of the project period of the company they work for.

Under the OCI scheme, persons of Indian origin from any country (except Pakistan and Bangladesh), who were once citizens of India, or were eligible to become citizens of India on January 26, 1950, under the Citizenship Act 1955, are eligible to become OCIs.

OCIs are not required to report to the police or other foreign office for any length of their stay in India, nor do they require employment visa to work in the private sector here. However, OCIs do not have political rights and are not allowed to hold government jobs.

Additionally, they cannot acquire agriculture and plantation properties.

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