NRIs are recognized & honored with Padma Bhushans by the Indian Government every year! Yet NRI policies are lacking in many aspects for a huge community of NRIs globally
Only an NRI can understand what it is to wait for hours in the Indian consulate. NRI’s have a hard time in the consulate offices be it to get a visa, PIO/OCI card and so on. The Indian diaspora from Africa to the Middle East, Europe and America are all interested in the outcome of the India Elections of 2014. One big hope for the NRI community are pro-NRI policies and getting truly represented for the problems faced by NRIs. And why not!
When it comes to actually streamlining regulations for people of Indian origin be where they may be located around the globe, the ministry certainly has a different idea on “action”. It is standard to hear that the regulations come from the home ministry. Then the home ministry has the external affairs to refer to. In a circle, you will probably hear about overseas affairs and it goes round and round. With all the promises from consular officials to simplify the rules, the NRI is usually tired of untangling a complex system. Yes, NRIs need a voice to represent them in India beyond the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas.
Only an NRI knows the confusion they go through trying to understand why they cannot come back to India for 3 months since a bizarre rule was put in place(now thankfully removed). Only an NRI worker knows what it is to be stranded in Libya when the Government falls and you are trying to get some help from the Indian consulate.
There are very qualified NRIs and India gives a bunch of them Padma Bhushans and other awards every year. How about giving one of them a Rajya Sabha seat and appointing them to represent the NRI community globally? The Government should resist handing over this ministry as the spoils of victory to party loyalists. Also in appointing the minister they should shy away from perceived regionalism. If they appoint a non-NRI and if they are from Kerala they will care for Middle East issues, if they are from Gujarat then US-India issues etc. How about finding a few NRIs who transcend regional issues and have a national and global perspective. Indians from any region of the country deserve a level of fair representation on their concerns not just yearly platitudes on how great they are and how much India values them etc. etc.
29 Million NRI’s deserve better!
Your thoughts are welcome.
Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.