Indian-Americans welcome restoration of OCI card journey advantages

Washington, August 8

Indian-Americans have welcomed India’s resolution to revive the Overseas Citizens of India card advantages, together with the visa-free journey to the nation, which had been suspended in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The OCI card, which permits lifelong visa-free journey to India with sure limitations to individuals of Indian-origin, was suspended by the Indian authorities on April 11 amidst a nationwide lockdown and journey restrictions because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The sudden resolution had created chaos and nervousness among the many tons of and hundreds of Indian-origin individuals. Numerous them had taken to the social media platforms like Twitter to vent out their anger.

The journey restrictions on these having OCI playing cards had been subsequently relaxed, which to this point have been primarily within the emergency classes, these travelling for work or minors with OCI card holders whose mother and father are Indian residents.

On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs notified to revive the complete journey privileges for OCI card holders for having passports of the US, the UK, Germany and France. India has created an air bubble (bilateral air journey preparations) with all these international locations.

“We welcome the decision of the Indian government on the OCI card holders from the US, the UK, Germany and France. This was long due. This decision and creation of an air bubble with these countries would end unnecessary harassment of thousands of Indian-origin people from these countries,” social activist Prem Bhandari stated.

Bhandari, who has been taking over the reason for OCI card holders for the years, stated that abruptly banning OCI card holders, even on account of a pandemic, resulted in quite a lot of heartburn among the many Indian-origin individuals.

“If we cannot take shelter in India during a crisis like this, who else will help us?” he requested.

Over the previous few months, Bhandari, who heads Jaipur Foot USA, has been main efforts on behalf of the Indian-American OCI card holders to raise journey restrictions.

Bhandari stated he spoke with senior Indian officers, together with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla.

The resolution to revive visa-free journey for Indian-Americans would facilitate a larger people-to-people trade between the 2 international locations, stated Alok Kumar, former president of the Federation of Indian Associations of the tri-state space of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which is among the largest esteemed umbrella organisations of the Indian neighborhood.

“It’s the Indian diaspora which plays the most important role in strengthening bilateral relationship between the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” he stated.

New Jersey-based social activist Deepender Singh stated: “This is a great news for OCI card holders since the Indian government has considered the need for relaxation of visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals who want to travel to India and Indian nationals intending to visit other countries like the US, the UK, Germany and France.”

There will likely be addition of many international locations within the air bubble scheme, Singh stated.

“Wonderful air bubble initiative started by the Indian government for OCI citizens. This way they can visit their family,” stated Indian-American Rajendra Bafna.

In its notification, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated it had additional thought of the necessity for visa rest and journey restrictions for extra classes of international nationals who needed to journey to India and Indian nationals intending to go to different international locations within the context of the air bubble scheme.

Indian missions of those international locations with whom the air bubble association is in place will grant acceptable visa, supplied papers of the candidates are so as and there’s no hostile enter about them.

“We welcome the relieving news that the Government of India has uplifted the travel sanction on OCI card holders. While being thankful, we urge the Government of India to consider the OCI card holder community in virtually the same ballpark with nearly the same extended privileges as those extended to NRIs and Indian citizens,” stated Ankur Vaidya, Chairman of the Federation of Indian-Associations. PTI

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