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Two schemes for overseas Indians to be merged to strengthen bond with overseas Indians- Modi

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS)- India is working on a new scheme that will merge the People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes, an official statement said Tuesday.

The move follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement on consular and visa issues during his address at the Madison Square Garden in New York Sep 28, while he was on a five-day sojourn to the US.

In his address, Modi had said the government will join the PIO and OCI schemes for the diaspora and a new scheme would be announced soon.

According to a gazette notification issued Sep 30, all PIO cards are now valid for the lifetime of the card holder, instead of 15 years.

"...the ministry of home affairs has issued instructions that PIO cardholders would not be required to report to a police station even if their visit to India exceeds 180 days," the statement said.

The statement added that instructions have also been issued to embassies and consulates that unless there are exceptional circumstances, visas to US nationals should normally be given for 10 years.

"Systems are in place to introduce visa on arrival for US tourists in October itself," the statement said.


 Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said efforts for overseas Indians being undertaken by the government will help "further strengthen our bond with the diaspora".

In a series of tweets, Modi said: "Am very glad to share that government of India has moved swiftly on the announcements I had made on consular and visa issues during my US visit."

"Am sure these efforts will further strengthen our bond with the diaspora and give an impetus to our development journey," he added.

The prime minister said that a Sep 30 Gazette notification said that all Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards are valid for lifetime of cardholders. Earlier it was for 15 years.

"The gazette notification fulfils the announcement that all PIO cardholders will now enjoy a lifelong visa to India," he said.

He said that the gazette notification also says that PIO card holders would not have to report to police stations, even if their visit exceeds 180 days.

"Instructions have been issued to embassies and consulates that apart from special circumstances, US nationals should get visas for 10 years," he said, adding that the ministry of home affairs is working on the new scheme which will merge the People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes.

Modi had made a number of announcements on consular and visa issues during his address at the Madison Square Garden in New York Sep 28, while he was on a five-day sojourn to the US.


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