‘Dual citizenship will be a big win for Indians’

July 29, 2019 no comment kartik

“30 million people of Indian heritage live overseas,” says New Zealand MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi. “Dual citizenship will allow them to participate in Indian politics, and will deliver many votes to political parties as well.”

An Indian Member of Parliament representing the Congress party, Shashi Tharoor, has tabled a bill to grant dual citizenship rights to people of Indian origin.

“If this bill is passed by the Indian parliament, it will be a big win for the Indian diaspora”, says Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, a four-time member of parliament in New Zealand.

“I have been a strong advocate for the Indian diaspora to be able to contribute in all walks of Indian life, including in the political arena,” said Mr Bakshi, speaking to News channel from Auckland (New Zealand).

He said, “Currently, Indian laws do not allow dual citizenship, because as soon as an Indian national acquires citizenship if another country, their Indian citizenship is automatically annulled.”

Foreign nationals with Indian heritage are currently able to obtain an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, which falls well short of according them rights in India’s political arena, since they are unable to vote or contest the Indian elections.

Mr Bakshi says that will change if the current proposal in India is passed by parliament.

“That will allow dual citizens holding Indian and a foreign nationality to cast their votes in Indian elections, to contest them as a candidate, as well as allowing them to hold a government job, which currently an OCI holder can’t.”

“I floated this idea during Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in January this year, and have also spoken to Mr Shashi Tharoor who has presented the dual citizenship proposal as a private member’s bill.”

“And when I had raised this matter during the PBD this year, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had expressed an openness to consider the idea.”

“I’m travelling back to India in an official capacity in September this year, and will raise the matter with the parliamentarians again, now that the bill is already tabled.”

Asked if this will negatively impact members of the Indian diaspora with political ambitions in the country they now live in – like in Australia where people with OCI card can’t run for federal elections – he said he wasn’t aware of any such law being applicable in New Zealand.

(Source: SBS Punjabi)

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