There is about 25 mln strong Indian diaspora out there in the world. There are two schemes the PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card and the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) to give some facilities to the NRI diaspora.
The PIO card was launched in August 2002. It can be issued to PIOs of all countries except those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It confers the following benefits:
- Shall not require a separate visa to visit India for 15 years from the date of issue of the PIO card.
- Will be exempt from the requirements of registration of her/his stay on any single visit in India, if the visit does not exceed 180 days.
- Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities in the economic, financial and education fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.
The OCI scheme is announced under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955. It can be issued to any PIO except those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, provided the country of nationality allows dual citizenship in some form or other. It confers the following benefits:
- A multiple entry multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
- Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
- Parity with NRIs in economic, financial and educational fields except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in sphere of political rights.