Parliament passes citizenship amendment bill

New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill which seeks to merge the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes.

The bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

It seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 which regulates the acquisition and determination of citizenship and details registration of overseas citizens of India and their rights.

The bill provides additional grounds for registering for an OCI card.

It also says the government may shift a PIO card-holder, who enjoys fewer benefits, to be an OCI card-holder from a specified date.

Moving the bill for passage in the upper house, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said: "It was necessary to merge the two, as under PIO, citizenship was extended up to great-grandchildren but in OCI it was only till grand children. Now it has been extended to great grandchildren."

This replaces an ordinance that was issued in January merging the PIO and OCI schemes.

The ordinance was promulgated in order to give PIOs benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit.

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