Record Number Of Indians Gave Up Citizenship, Says Govt
- Indian Government Is Failing To Uphold Its Duty To Protect Its Citizens & Their Citizenship
Remember those famous remarks Prime Minister Narendra Modi made back in 2015 that sparked an angry reaction from opposition parties besides triggering a storm of protest on social media.
“Pata nahin pichle janam mei kya paap kiya tha ki Bharat mei janam hua (what sin had I committed to being born in India)”, said PM Modi, while addressing the Indian diaspora in Seoul. This statement evoked a strong reaction from Twitterati, some of whom criticised him for “insulting” his own country.
And now, the data released by his own government revealed that Indians prefer to move out and relinquish their Indian citizenship. The number now keeps on increasing with each passing year.
While the prime minister of India may hard-sell himself as the bringer of hope to Indians, who once said being born in India was a punishment for sins committed in a previous life, his (PM Modi) strong pitch to fellow Indians who settled abroad to return to their motherland is clearly witnessing no takers.
Ever since BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) returned to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, more than 3.92 lakh Indians settled in foreign countries have relinquished their Indian citizenship. Now, before you think all this is fabricated or fake news spread by anti-national forces, it needs to be said that this official data was presented in parliament by Nityanand Rai, Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s deputy.
WHY ARE INDIANS LEAVING THE COUNTRY OR RENOUNCING CITIZENSHIP?
There are multiple reasons, and they vary widely from nation to nation, and among socioeconomic and ethnic groups. In general, the majority of people leave their countries in search of better jobs and opportunities and living conditions, while some are pushed out by unfavourable political situations at home or climate change.
According to a 2020 report by the Global Wealth Migration Review, individuals renounce citizenship because of rising crime rates or the lack of business opportunities at home. The report also said that (they) are often the first to leave as they have the means to do so, unlike middle-class citizens.
Global Wealth Migration Review also revealed safety of women and children, lifestyle factors like climate and pollution, financial concerns including taxes, better healthcare for families and educational opportunities for children, and to escape oppressive governments are the other reasons why people migrate to other countries and eventually acquire citizenship of other countries.
Most Indians also do it as there are many privileges that they get using the passports of other countries. According to Henley’s and Partners’ passport index, India stands at the 84th number on the passport power rank.
If comparing India’s ranking with other countries, France stands 4th, Australia and Canada are at 7th and the United States of America and the United Kingdom stand at 6th rank. Japan and Singapore are at number 1 followed by Germany and South Korea at number 2.
This index is known as the standard reference tool for global citizens and sovereign states when assessing where a passport ranks on the global mobility spectrum. Interestingly, the higher the passport index ranking, the better access you get to travel visa-free to other countries. Additionally, they are exempt from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process, which is beneficial for traders and businessmen.
RULES AROUND CITIZENSHIP IN INDIA
Unlike some other countries, India does not allow for dual citizenship, under The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 and all Indian nationals who acquire foreign nationalities are required legally to renounce their Indian citizenship. So, acquiring the citizenship of another country automatically results in the cancellation of Indian citizenship as India does not allow dual citizenship.
Although the law is not always enforceable, most Indian nationals who acquire citizenship overseas voluntarily apply, an official at the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
So, if an individual has ever applied for an Indian Passport and then obtains the passport of some other country, that individual will be required to surrender their Indian Passport immediately after they acquire the nationality of some other country. As soon as Indians renounce their citizenship, it is necessary and essential for them to apply for surrender or a renunciation certificate. Their passports are stamped after that, stating “cancelled due to acquiring foreign nationality”.
WHERE DO INDIANS WANT TO GO?
The official government data reveals that the large number of Indians who relinquished their Indian citizenship in 2021 went to the United States of America (USA) (78,284), followed by Australia (23,533), along with Canada (21,597), and the United Kingdom (UK) (14,637).
According to the report, 78,284 Indians took up US citizenship last year (2021), of which 30,828 got it in 2020 and 61,683 in 2019.
Others in small numbers who gave up their Indian citizenship went to Italy (5,986), New Zealand (2,643), Singapore (2,516), Germany (2,381), the Netherlands (2,187), Sweden (1,841), Spain (1,595), along with Nepal (10) and Pakistan (41).
The data also revealed that 41 Indian nationals based in Pakistan gave up their Indian citizenship last year, compared to only 7 in 2020.
According to the information provided by the home ministry last year, 13,383,718 (13 million) Indian nationals are currently living in foreign countries.
Interestingly, Indians who moved out aren’t actually enthused enough to return to India despite the Modi government’s claims of taking great strides in ease of doing business in the country.