Take back new curbs on OCI cardholders: Congress

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Panaji: The Congress party on Sunday demanded that the Narendra Modi government immediately withdraw the latest gazette notification issued by the ministry of home affairs, which imposes several restrictions including religious and financial restrictions on overseas citizens of India – including non-resident Goans – who are working in various countries, but have not surrendered their Indian nationality.

Goa pradesh Congress committee president Girish Chodankar, told a press conference at the Congress House that the earlier Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had agreed to grant dual citizenship to the OCI, who had not surrendered their Indian nationality.

“However, the recent draconian gazette notification states that the OCI cardholder, including a person of Indian origin (PIO) cardholder, is a foreign national holding passport of a foreign country and is not a citizen of India,” he added, pointing out that the particular gazette notification, which now imparts the status of foreign national to the overseas citizens of India, puts several restrictions under the Foreign Exchange Management Act  on transfer of money by such people.

Chodankar said that around one lakh Goans working abroad would be severely affected by this gazette notification and would not only find it difficult to send money to their family in Goa, but also face hardships to visit their motherland regularly, for religious and other festivals.

“The gazette notification will also end the Goa connect of those hardworking Goans in foreign countries, who hold Portuguese passport,” he maintained, noting that a “wall of bureaucracy” would come between them and their motherland.

The GPCC president also said that Goa, which is already suffering from poor economy, will face another economic blow as these people would not be able to send money back home easily.

“And these Goan people had moved to foreign countries as the state government had failed to provide them with good jobs,” he mentioned.

Denouncing the issuance of this gazette notification, Chodankar said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant should immediately convene a cabinet meeting to discuss the issue, as also pressurise the central government to withdraw the same.

On a parting note, the Congress leader alleged that the Modi government has issued the gazette notification as per the dictum of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, so as to block the donations to the religious houses and religious institutions of the minority communities.

“Goa, which has a number of members of the minority communities working abroad, will suffer the most,” he remarked.