The Government has announced the launching of a People of Indian Origin Card, which will allow visa free entry to Indian origin people living abroad and give them all the rights enjoyed by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) including purchase of non-agricultural land. 15 million people of Indian origin living abroad will benefit from the Card. The fee is US $ 1,000 and is valid for 20 years. However, it would not be issued to people of Indian origin living in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It does not give voting rights to the holders of the Card. It is eligible for the Indians who hold a foreign passport living abroad till the fourth generation. The PIO Card holder would be exempt from registration if his stay in India does not exceed 180 days. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days, the PIO Card holder will have to register within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Registration Officer at district headquarters. The right to buy property would not be valid to Jammu & Kashmir. The PIO Card holder would be able to admit their children to educational institution in India under the NRI category. These include the IITs and Indian institutes of Management. They can also benefit from housing schemes of the Life Insurance Corporation, State Governments and other Government agencies.
THE PRESS RELEASE AND GAZETTE NOTIFICATION ON PIO CARD FOLLOWS: -
Understanding the sentiments of persons of Indian origin to be closer to their original country and to reinforce their emotional bonds, as well as respecting their desire to participate in the development of the resolve to frame a special scheme. This resolve was translated in the first Budget Speech of FM: -
"Government have decided to draw up a scheme for issuance of a Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Card for those living abroad and having foreign passports. The PIO Card, which would be extended to Persons of Indian Origin settled in countries to be specified by Government would besides introducing a visa free regime, also confer some special economic, educational, financial and cultural benefits. The details are being worked out".
The Government has today launched a comprehensive Scheme for the Persons of Indian Origin - called the "PIO Card Scheme". Under this scheme, Persons of Indian Origin up to the fourth generation (great grand parents) settled throughout the world, except for a few specified countries, would be eligible. The Card would be issued to eligible applicants through the concerned Indian Embassies/ High Commissions/ Consulates and for those staying in India on long term visa, the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai) would be the same.
The fee for the card, which will have a validity of 20 years, would be US $1000. In case of children below the age of 15 years PIO card will be initially issued for 5 years. However it can be renewed further up to 20 years
Besides making their journey back to their roots simpler, easier and smoother, this Scheme entitles the PIOs to a wide range of economic, financial, educational and cultural benefits. The benefits envisaged under the Scheme include: -
(i) No requirement of visa to visit India:
(ii) No requirement to register with the Foreigners Registration Officer if continuous stay does not exceed 180 days. If continuos stay exceeds 180 days, then registration is required to be done within a period of 30 days of the expiry of 180 days:
(iii) Parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial, educational fields, etc. These facilities will include:-
(iv) All future benefits that would be extended to NRIs would also be available to the PIO Card holders;
(v) However, they shall not enjoy political rights in India.
The above steps would go a long way in renewing and strengthening the emotional bond amongst PIOs with the land of their origin. The attractive features of the Scheme will further exhort them to play an increasingly constructive role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the country of their origin.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS NOTIFICATION
(i) This scheme may be called the Scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card).
(ii) It shall come into force with effect from 31st March 1999.
2. Definition - In this scheme, unless the context otherwise requires.
3. Form of application for issue/ renewal of a PIO Card:-
4. Authority to which application is to be made:-
(A) Those residing in:-
(B) Those residing in areas other than (A) above:-
Joint Secretary (Foreigners). Ministry of Home Affairs, 1st floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market New Delhi-110003.
5. Authority to grant a PIO Card:-
6. Validity of PIO Card:-
8. Facilities to be extended to a PIO Card holder:-
9. Cancellation of PIO Card:-
The Central Government may by order, cancel the PIO Card, if it is satisfied that:
No reasons shall be assigned for withdrawal of the Card.
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