Tuesday, Dec 23, 2003
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By Neena Vyas
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003 was moved in the Lok Sabha this afternoon by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, who said the legislation would simplify the procedure for acquiring Indian citizenship by PIOs, especially grown-up children of former Indian citizens who were living abroad and had acquired citizenship of other countries. It would help such persons to contribute to the development of India.
The legislation had been passed by the Rajya Sabha earlier. The Bill was first introduced in the Budget session and then sent to a parliamentary standing committee before finally coming to the two Houses for consideration and passing. In fact, eager to have the legislation in place before the second edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebration due in the coming January, the Government revised the `List of Business' for the Lok Sabha at the eleventh hour today to bring the Bill to the House. Mr. Advani admitted as much saying that the Government would announce at the next Pravasi Diwas that the promised legislation had come through. The Bill was passed without any acrimony. In fact, the Congress, the AIADMK, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and some other Opposition parties supported the Bill. What the Opposition wanted to know was how dual citizenship would help PIOs to contribute to India's growth and development.
The Bill provides for overseas citizenship of India to PIOs in 16 countries who have acquired citizenship in those countries. It will also enable those Indians who intend to acquire citizenship of other countries to retain the overseas Indian citizenship. This was not possible before and has been a longstanding demand of PIOs.
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