“Direct airlink between New Zealand and India is also imperative”
National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has called on the Indian government to allow nomination of People of Indian Origin (PIO) to the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Dual Citizenship for the Indian Diaspora.
He made the appeals during his speech at the Youth Session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) which concluded in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, today.
Growing, global relationships
“As India continues to grow, the global relationships with PIO have also grown. Based on our relationship with our country of birth, the Government of India should consider seats in the Rajya Sabha as well as Dual Citizenship,” he said.
It would be interesting to see how the Indian Government reacts to the appeals, although it is difficult to perceive how ‘foreigners’ can be considered for seats in a country’s Parliament and how logistics and other considerations will facilitate such membership even if eventuates.
As far as we know, Membership to Parliament is the close preserve of the nationals of that country, including New Zealand. Secondly, Rajya Sabha is never prorogued and hence a Member should be resident in the country.
The OCI compromise
Dual Citizenship is yet another matter, which the Indian Government has continuously expressed its reservations. The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was introduced in 2006 as a ‘compromise’ to the demands of the Indian Diaspora.
Our sources say that there are no plans to review the matter.
Mr Bakshi has also asked for direct air services between New Zealand and India, an issue, which is not difficult to resolve but neither Air New Zealand nor Air India has shown keenness to make a move in the right direction over the years.
The 15th Edition of the PBD was held in Varanasi (also known as Benares or Kashi) hosted by the Uttar Pradesh State Government.
On another note, Mr Bakshi was inducted into the ‘Honour Roll’ of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) at its Annual Meeting held in Varanasi on January 20.
He is the first PIO and a Sikh from New Zealand to be accorded this honour.
“It is incredibly exciting to be inducted into the GOPIO Honour Roll,” he said.
GOPIO was established in 1989 to fight human rights violation of PIO.
“I have worked with Kedar Nath Gupta and Manish Gupta to set up this Organisation in Delhi. After I moved to New Zealand, I put my efforts towards establishing the New Zealand Chapter of GOPIO with Harish Bajaj as its first President,” he added.
Mr Bakshi said that he continues to work with GOPIO officials in New Zealand for the benefit of the Indian Diaspora.