News: The Home Ministry’s March 4 order that required professional Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), such as journalists, engineers and researchers, to notify the Ministry about their activities in India has left them in the lurch.
On March 4, the Ministry issued a gazette notification that OCI cardholders could claim “only NRI (Non-Resident Indian) quota seats” in educational institutions.
It specified that OCIs could only pursue the following professions — doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists, advocates, architects and chartered accountants, and the rest would require “special permission”.
OCIs are of Indian origin but hold foreign passports. India does not allow dual citizenship but provides certain benefits under Section 7B(I) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 to the OCIs.
The notification said that OCIs shall be required to obtain a “special permission or a special permit” from the competent authority or the FRRO or the Indian mission “to undertake research, missionary or Tabligh or mountaineering or journalistic activities or internship in any foreign diplomatic missions”.
About Overseas Citizenship of India:
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a form of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin and their spouses which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely.
Despite the name, OCI status is not citizenship and does not grant the right to vote in Indian elections or hold public office.
The Indian government can revoke OCI status in a wide variety of circumstances.
The OCI scheme was introduced by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora. It provides Overseas citizens many of the rights available to resident citizens.
OCI status is not available to anyone who has ever been a Pakistani or Bangladeshi citizen, or who is a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of such a person.
The Government of India, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India, if the person:
was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or
belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or
was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or
is a child or a grandchild or a great-grandchild of such a citizen; or
is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or
is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or
is a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application.
A person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan & Bangladesh, is ineligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India.
A person who has served as a member of any foreign military is ineligible to receive an OCI card.
Revoking OCI Card:
Previously, the government could cancel OCI status of people who obtained it by fraud, showed acts of unpatriotism, or broke a law punishable with at least two years in jail before five years of having issued OCI.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 gives the government additional power to strip people of their Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status if they violate any local law, whether it is a petty offense or a serious felony.
The new act makes the rules much more strict for OCI card holders. However, it also has a provison which gives the person whose OCI status is at stake the power of being heard by the government before they come to a verdict.
Overseas Citizenship of India allows a holder:
Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa free to visit India. Life long denotes to 100 years from the date of birth.
Exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) of India on their arrival in the country.
Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India.
Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Can pursue the following professions in India: medicine, dentistry, nursing, advocacy, architecture, chartered accountancy, and pharmacy.
Are considered in parity with Indian citizens for admittance into national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, historical sites, and museums.
Can visit India for the purpose of conducting research after obtaining a No Objection/Research Project Clearance Certificate from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), India and that can be applied at nearest Indian Diplomatic Mission. This includes Scholars awarded Scholarship under Fulbright or any other scheme.
OCI holders are not citizens of India from a constitutional point of view and will not enjoy the following rights even if residing in India:
they do not have the right to vote,
they do not have the right to hold the offices of Prime Minister, President, Vice-President, Judge of Supreme Court and High Court, member of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly, or Council.
they do not have the right to any public services (government jobs).
they do not have the right to invest in farmland (agricultural property). However, they can still inherit farmland.
Like how the Citizens of India need to apply for an Inner Line Permit to visit certain areas in India, the Overseas Citizens of India are also needed to apply for a protected area permit to do the same.
2. NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
News: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments on a complaint about bodies found floating in river Ganga in the past few days.
About National Human Rights Commission of India:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is a Statutory public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.
It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (PHRA).
The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “Rights Relating To Life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.”.
The Protection of Human Rights Act mandates the NHRC to perform the following:
Proactively or reactively inquire into violations of human rights by government of India or negligence of such violation by a public servant
the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures
to study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation
undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
to visit jails and study the condition of inmates
engage in human rights education among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means
encourage the efforts of NGOs and institutions congress to working in the field of human rights.
it considers the necessity for the protection of human rights.
requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
The NHRC consists of: The Chairman and Five members (excluding the ex-officio members)
A Chairperson, who has been a Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India , or, One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court.
Three Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.
In addition, the Chairpersons of National Commissions viz., National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women , National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities serve as ex officio members.
The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
The Home Minister
The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
News: The Dharashiv Sugar Mill in Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district has become the country’s first establishment to produce medical grade oxygen from ethanol.
Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is an organic chemical compound. It is a simple alcohol with the chemical formula C2H6O.
Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. It is a psychoactive substance, recreational drug, and the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
Ethanol is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration.
It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
It is used as a chemical solvent and in the synthesis of organic compounds. Ethanol is a fuel source.
4. COVAX FACILITY ALLIANCE
News: The Punjab Cabinet on Thursday decided to join the COVAX facility alliance for global sourcing and procurement of vaccines at the best price to address the problem of shortage amid the deadly second wave.
About COVAX Initiative:
COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVAX coordinates international resources to enable low-to-middle-income countries equitable access to COVID-19 tests, therapies, and vaccines.