NEW YORK (TIP): The leaders of the Indian National Overseas Congress (I), USA paid a courtesy call to the Ambassador of India to the United States, Her Excellency Nirupama Rao in Washington D.C., and also discussed a number of issues that are of considerable concern to the Diaspora. On the top of the list were the OCI card and the recent changes in rules that mandate its renewal for the people fifty years and over.

After, introducing the delegation, George Abraham, President of the INOC stressed the vital roles NRIs play in promoting the US-India friendship and cooperation in various fields of human endeavor between the two largest democracies in the world and felt that the issues identified were irritants to an otherwise strong and growing bond between India and its Diaspora in the U.S. The delegation also suggested, inter alia, that OCI status could be granted by a separate document like the US “Green Card” rather than a stamp placed in the individual’s Indian passport.

As regards second generation Indians in US, some of the benefits conferred by OCI legislation might need revisiting to prevent inconsistent application. He requested the help of the Ambassador in bringing these issues to the attention of the respective officials in India. He also added that INOC, as a recognized entity in U.S. by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), offered to assist in a constructive way in partnership in helping to resolve some of these issues.

Indian National Overseas Congress, USA has recently established an NRI-Interface Council for the specific purpose of addressing issues that are of concern to the members of the Diaspora. Anand Ahuja Esq, the Chairman of the Interface council highlighted some of the issues the committee is looking into at present such as property protection for NRIs and legislation 498A. Kuanl Yadav Esq, the Secretary and Prof.

Sreedhar kavil member of the Committee spoke in detail on how to improve the usability of OCI card and pledged their continuing efforts to work in collaboration with the Government of India to affect the changes. Ambassador Rao in her exchange with the delegation queried in detail about the present difficulties surrounding the OCI card.

In the end she expressed pleasure and satisfaction in the discussions and kindly offered to bring the matter to the attention of the Home Ministry. She lauded the efforts of INOC in taking up the OCI card issue and spoke about the need to provide more clarity on the website. Mr. Mohinder Singh, Mr. Harbachan Singh, Mr. Juned Qazi, Mr. Zinda Singh, Ms. Lavika Bhagat Singh, Mr. Varghese Thekkekara , Mr. Rumpy Singh and Ms. Rohini Khera also participated in the discussion.