NRI Current Affairs - 2019

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PIO cards to continue as valid travel document upto March 2020

The Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards along with valid foreign passport will be considered for exit or entry into India till 31 March 2020. Government of India had earlier advised all PIO card holders to convert their cards to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards by 30 September 2019.

Key Highlights

The Indian Consulate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) stated that as per the latest advisory issued by Government of India-

  • The Bureau of Immigration (BoI) will now accept Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards as valid travel document till 31 March 2020 along with valid foreign passport
  • The Indian Immigration Check Post(s) will continue to consider all PIO cards valid for exit/entry into India till 31 March 2020

The advisory also stated that all the valid PIO cardholders as on 9 January 2015 are requested to apply for conversion of PIO card to OCI card as per guidelines at the earliest.

Condition: However, this extension of time-line is subject to condition that if in the meantime any deadline is notified by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) thereby making hand written PIO cards invalid, then PIO cardholders may have to obtain appropriate visa from Indian Missions or Posts abroad.

What is Persons of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card)?

Overseas Indians also known as Non-resident Indians (NRIs) or Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are people of Indian birth/descent/origin who live outside Republic of India. PIO card was a form of identification issued to PIOs who held a passport in a foreign country other than following countries- Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Sri Lanka. Thereby the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, made provision for acquisition of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) by Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) of 16 specified countries other than Pakistan and Bangladesh

Union Government to allow Aadhaar enrolments of NRIs, PIOs, OICs

Union Government has decided to allow Aadhaar enrollment of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

It was announced by Union Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh in written reply to Lok Sabha.

This move will help all persons on the Indian soil (including resident Indian, OCI/PIO, NRIs and visa holding visitors) to authenticate their identity digitally.

In this regard Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is working on the policy for Aadhaar enrolment of NRIs, PIOs and OICs as per directions from the government. However, no time frame has been formulated at this stage for achieving the goal.

Presently, UIDAI is providing Aadhaar number all residents including Indian national and foreigners with valid visas who are enrolling for it.

About Aadhaar number

  • Union Government had established UIDAI in January 2009 to issue Aadhaar numbers to all citizens which can be verified digitally using the database.
  • Aadhaar  is a 12-digit unique identity number which helps enrolled persons in availing various services and benefits provided by the government.
  • It is considered the world’s largest national identification number project.
  • It is also valid as know your customers (KYC) document for various services including banking, cooking gas subsidy, government scholarships, telecom, vehicle registration and driving licence, public distribution system and pension.
  • It should be noted that UIDAI was earlier attached to Planning Commission of India and now it is attached to the NITI Aayog. So far it has allotted around 89.43 Aadhaar numbers to Indian citizens.