The Union Cabinet has approved numerous facilities that are being extended to persons from Minority communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who are staying on Long Term Visa (LTV) in India.
The move is aimed at easing out the difficulties being faced by such people. The facilities that they will now get are:
1. The can now open bank account
2. They will have permission to purchase property for self-occupation and self-employment
3. They will have permission to employee themselves
4. They can apply for driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar card
5. They will be allowed free movement within the state or union territory where they are staying
6. They can seek transfer of LTV from one state to other
7. The penalty on non-extension of short term visa or LTV on time will be waived
8. They can apply for LTV from their present place of residence in case they have moved to that place without permission
In case such people want to acquire citizenship of India, the provisions of Citizenship Rules 2009 are amended to facilitate such people.
1. Now the Collector or DM have power to authorise and officer who is not below the rank of Sub Divisional Magistrate to administer the oath of allegiance to the applicant.
2. The power will be delegated to the Collectors of the following 16 districts in the seven states only and just for a period of two years so that they can register such people as citizens of India. The names of the districts and states are: Raipur in Chhattisgarh; Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Kutch in Gujarat; Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh; Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune and Thane in Maharashtra; West Delhi and South Delhi in Delhi; Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur in Rajasthan; and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
3. Also the registration fees for citizenship of India is being reduced for such people from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 15000 to Rs. 100.
Why so many facilities:
India has always been one country where refugees feel safe and welcome irrespective of the country they come from and the religion they follow. India today hoses refugees from Tibet, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other neighbouring countries.
Till date India had generously granted long term visas and work permits to refugees. The measures taken by the present Union Government are in continuation of India's policy to welcome needy people and help them live a dignified life. These measures will make life much easier for the refugees and they will be able to gainfully add to India's progress.