Punjab Minister for NRI Affairs Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal called upon Union minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan at South Block in Delhi on Wednesday to take up cases related to Indian diaspora living abroad
Direct flights to Canada, the US, Australia, England
During the meeting, Dhaliwal demanded that direct flights to Canada, the US, Australia, and England should be begun from Amritsar Airport. He also requested that the Chandigarh and Amritsar airports should also be made international airports with all requisite facilities.
Dhaliwal also demanded that CCTV cameras should be installed at international airports focusing on the immigration counters so that NRIs don’t face any difficulties on these counters. He told that passengers are facing difficulties in getting journey visas and attestation of papers and stressed that there should be a 24/7 helpline for the Punjabi community in cases of emergency
He emphasized the need for fast processing of visas of OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India). A single window complaint redressal system is required at the level of the Government of India to address problems related to the community in a time-bound manner. A help desk should also be shown in the MEA, available 24 hours to enable NRIs to seek help. This helpdesk number should be widely publicized through all the embassies of MEA, he told.
For NRIs returning to India, there should be no police verification
He also told that for NRIs returning to India there should be no police verification from the Indian Police. Rather, this verification may be done from the country of origin. For those under political asylum, there may be a special provision in law to arrive back to their country, said the Minister.
During the meeting, Dhaliwal told that properties belonging to NRIs are under constant threat of adverse possession. Special relief is requested in the limitation act to avoid the 12-year clause of adverse possession. NRIs may be permitted to activate bank accounts and the one-year clause may be waived, told the minister counting further that there is a condition regarding the maturity honors of insurance policies for NRIs to open bank accounts in India and this condition should be revoked.
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- He also demanded Muraleedharan for a special provision in the Arms Act to enable NRIs to get their arms licenses renewed online. The NRA fraternity is demanding dual citizenship since the 1990s, but this is still pending clearance
Citizens from India
He said, “In times of crisis we need exact data of Indians living abroad to aid evacuation. However, no data is available readily, it is requested that Indian missions abroad may be questioned to keep a city-wise database of citizens from India.”
Indian Consulates within the jurisdiction of one foreign country have different service delivery rules. For instance, Vancouver Consulate General Office demands submission of the original passport while Toronto Office does not request it. It is requested that there should be uniformity of rules and regulations of Indian Consulates within a country to rule out possibility of harassment of the NRIs and OCIs, he told.
A special cell may be established to counter the designs of unscrupulous travel agents who smuggle people abroad and then abandon them midway, he told.
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