Indian-Americans Welcome Restoration Of OCI Card Travel Benefits

The OCI card was suspended by the Indian authorities on April 11 amid lockdown (Representational)

Washington:

Indian-People have welcomed India’s choice to revive the Abroad Residents of India (OCI) 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 folks of Indian-origin, was suspended by the Indian authorities on April 11 amidst a nationwide lockdown and journey restrictions as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.

The sudden choice had created chaos and anxiousness among the many lots of and 1000’s of Indian-origin folks.

A lot of 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 thus far has 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 Residence Affairs notified to revive the total 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 choice of the Indian authorities on the OCI card holders from the US, the UK, Germany and France. This was lengthy due. This choice and creation of an air bubble with these international locations would finish pointless harassment of 1000’s of Indian-origin folks from these international locations,” social activist Prem Bhandari stated.

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

“If we can’t take shelter in India throughout a disaster like this, who else will assist us?” he requested.

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

Mr Bhandari stated that he spoke with senior Indian officers, together with Overseas Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Union Residence Secretary Ajay Bhalla.

The choice to revive visa free journey for Indian-People would facilitate a better people-to-people alternate 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 is the Indian expatriates which performs crucial function in strengthening bilateral relationship between the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” he stated.

“It is a nice information for OCI card holders for the reason that Indian authorities has thought of the necessity for rest of visa and journey restrictions for extra classes of overseas nationals who needs to journey to India and Indian nationals intending to go to different international locations just like the US, the UK, Germany and France,” New Jersey-based social activist Deepender Singh stated.

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

“Great air bubble initiative began by the Indian authorities for OCI residents. This manner they’ll go to their household,” stated Indian-American Rajendra Bafna.

In its notification, the Ministry of Residence Affairs stated it has additional thought of the necessity for visa rest and journey restrictions for extra classes of overseas nationals who need 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 antagonistic enter about them.

“We welcome the relieving information that the federal government of India has uplifted the journey sanction on OCI card holders. Whereas being grateful, we urge the federal government of India to contemplate the OCI card holder neighborhood in nearly the identical ballpark with almost the identical prolonged privileges as these prolonged to NRIs and Indian residents,” stated Ankur Vaidya, chairman of the Federation of Indian-Associations.

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