NEW DELHI (TIP): The Union home ministry has moved to amend the Citizenship Act to relax the stipulation of one-year continuous stay in India by certain categories of applicants — including a person of Indian origin (PIO), a foreign national married to an Indian citizen and an overseas citizen of India (OCI) of 5 years – before they can seek Indian citizenship. The proposed amendments, on which comments/ suggestions of Indian citizens have been sought by November 11, are also aimed at merging the PIO and OCI schemes and renaming the combined product as “Indian Overseas Cardholder” scheme.

Under the proposed amendments, certain clauses of Section 5 and Section 6 are proposed to be amended to allow breaks for a total period not exceeding 30 days during the prescribed period of one year immediately before applying for Indian citizenship. These clauses provide for acquisition of Indian citizenship by a PIO; acquisition of citizenship on grounds of marriage to an Indian citizen; re-acquisition of citizenship by erstwhile citizen of independent India,who has been residing in India for one year immediately before making application; and acquisition of citizenship by an OCI cardholder of five years.

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