Topic: Cabinet approves Introduction of Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill 2019
Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 1: Indian Society
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has approved the introduction of Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019, for creating more accountability and offering more protection against exploitation of Indian citizens, mostly women by their NRI spouses.
Need for such bill:
- The bill has been introduced with the hope of restricting NRI husbands from using marriage as a tool of exploitation and making money and providing better enforcement of rights for the deserted woman under the family laws.
- The introduction of the Bill was necessitated due to numerous complaints received from Indian nationals mostly women, who were deserted or harassed by their Non-Resident Indian Spouses.
- Since marriage takes place outside India, there are no records or legal documents for further procedures to be initiated against the offender.
Key Provisions in the Bill:
- Registration of marriages: The Bill states that every NRI who marries a citizen of India must get his marriage registered in India within thirty days. Further, every NRI who marries an Indian citizen or another NRI outside India, must get his marriage registered with the Marriage Officer, within thirty days. The Marriage Officer is appointed from among the diplomatic officers in the foreign country.
- Impounding of passport: In case an NRI marries an Indian citizen or another NRI, and fails to register the marriage within thirty days, the passport authority may impound or revoke the passport of the NRI.
- Issue of summons and warrants: The Bill provides that in case a court cannot serve summons, it may issue summons by uploading it on a specific website designated by the Ministry of External Affairs. If the person summoned does not appear before the Court, it may issue and upload a warrant for arrest on the designated website.
Significance of this Bill:
- Serving judicial summons for Court proceedings in India is a major problem, which would be taken care of by this Bill by amending the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- Thus, the Bill would offer great protection to Indian citizens married to NRIs and serve as a deterrent to NRIs against harassment of their spouses.
- This Bill would benefit Indian women married to NRIs worldwide.
The Passports Act:
- The Passports Act is an act of the Parliament of India “for the issue of passports and travel documents, to regulate the departure from India of citizens of India and for other persons and for matters incidental or ancillary thereto.”
- The Act applies to whole of India extending to citizens of India living outside the country.
- The Act replaced the Indian Passport Ordinance 1967 and was enacted by Act 15 of 1967 with retrospective effect from 5 May 1967.
- The act describes the procedures in getting an Indian passport.
- In conformity with Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, the Act does not allow dual citizenship.
- Under Section 12 of the Act, a person must surrender his passport if he has acquired the citizenship of a foreign country.
Importance of diaspora to India:
- The Indian Diaspora is a generic term to describe the people who migrated from territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India.
- It also refers to their descendants.
- The Diaspora is currently estimated to number over twenty million, composed of “NRIs” (Indian citizens not residing in India) and “PIOs” (Persons of Indian Origin who have acquired the citizenship of some other country).
- The Diaspora covers practically every part of the world. It numbers more than a million each in eleven countries, while as many as twenty-two countries have concentrations of at least a hundred thousand ethnic Indians.
- While NRIs generate earnings is estimated to be $250 billion and is one third of the GDP of India. Thus, NRIs and POIs can contribute a lot to Indian economy and enhance its fiscal growth.
- The impressive Diaspora has played an important role in promoting India’s interest abroad and act as its unnamed ambassadors. This is more so in the fields of culture, education, economic development and health and arts. Indians are leaders in areas like information technology and largely contribute in this. Above all these PIOs can help India by investing in Indian industry and infrastructure to encourage its economic growth.
- Even though NRI’s contribution is not visible but they are helping their country through varied activities in India. Many reports reveal that NRI’s are major source of Direct Foreign Investment, market development (outsourcing), technology transfer, charity, tourism, political contributions and more substantial flows of knowledge, in India.
- The NRIs have come forward with several non-governmental organizations in India helping in array of developmental, educational and social projects. It has been observed that large number of NRIs is actively taking part in several welfare programs in India.
- They have registered many NGOs to encourage education, health care and developmental activities such as water management, rural development and self-help programs etc. They are also assisting in social and environmental problems in India.
Potential for India:
- Diaspora as a source of nation branding and soft power: -Diasporas are symbol of a nation’s pride internationally. They help in building its brand internationally through their huge success stories.
- Diaspora as a source of inflow of foreign capital and investments: many emigrants make huge investments into their home countries in domestic financial, real estates, services and technological sectors helping in huge inflow of capitals that boost local economy and create huge jobs .E.g.- Anil Aggarwal controlled London based Vedanta group.
- Diaspora as facilitator in accessing technological- knowhow and innovations: – Diasporas are mostly based in foreign countries which are developed and hence are technologically advance and rich in innovations. They help in bringing these technology and innovations to their country of origin through investment and collaborations.
- Diaspora as facilitator in spread of indigenous culture and traditions: Cultural spread helps in export of domestic cuisines and merchandise which open the room for investment in the host countries to feed the local tastes of people for those cuisines. Eg- many Indian restaurants owned by Indians and PIOs are located in the U.S and U.K and flocked frequently by local people there. Diwali and Holi are celebrated by foreigners too.
- Political importance of a Diaspora for the host country: -Diaspora play important role in influencing policies and politics of its host country in favour of its country of origin and also ,development of good ties and relations between both countries
- Diaspora increasingly becoming prominent with getting prominent places in the high offices of their residing nations like UK, USA which further helps in building their economic linkages.
Programmes and schemes for the Indian Diaspora abroad:
Pravasi Bharthiya Divas:
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated in India on 9 January every other year (every year before 2016) to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
- It commemorates the day Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915.
- It is sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs
Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards:
- The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award was constituted by the Union Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
- It is given to honour the contributions of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in their respective profession or an organization established and run by the NRIs.
- The award is presented by the President of India.
- The award was first organized in 2003.
Know India Programme:
- KIP aims to provide them with an exposure to the country of their origin so that they can understand India better and more closely
- It is for NRI and PIO youth of age group of 18 to 30 years.
- It was a 3 week orientation program. In 2016, KIP scheme was revamped to extend number of days from 21 to 25 days including 10-day visit to one or two states.
- The KIP offers a platform for the young PIOs to visit India share their views, expectations and experiences and forge closer bonds with the India of present times
- It was launched in 2004.
- The participants are selected on basis of nominations received and recommendations of heads of Indian Missions and posts.
Overseas Indian Youth Club (OIYC):
- MOIA has also launched a new scheme named ‘Overseas Indian Youth Club’ through our Missions abroad.
- Purpose is to keep the overseas Indian youth in touch with the developments in India & create a sense of belongingness towards their Country of origin.
- In order to continue the momentum of affinity and networking of the Diaspora youth with their ancestral motherland, MOIA has supported opening of Overseas Indian Youth Club (OIYC) in CGI Durban, South Africa, HCI Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, HCI Colombo, Sri Lanka, HCI Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago and HCI Port Louis, Mauritius.
- Similarly, opening of OIYC is making headway in CGI Melbourne, Australia and HCI Singapore.
Tracing the Roots:
- The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running a scheme since October 2008 known as “Tracing the Roots” to facilitate PIOs in tracing their roots in India.
- PIOs who intend to trace their roots in India need to apply in a prescribed Form, through the Indian Mission/Post in the country of their residence.
- Application Form for this purpose is available on the website.
- Persons of Indian origin desirous of tracing their roots in India would be required to fill up the prescribed application form and deposit it with the concerned Indian Mission/Post located in the country of their residence along with a fee of Rs.30,000 (Rupees Thirty Thousand only) in equivalent US $, Euro or any other foreign currency acceptable to the Indian Mission/Post.
Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC):
- Scheme launched by MOIA in 2006-07 to make higher education in India accessible to the children of overseas Indians and promote India as a centre for higher studies.
- Under the scheme, 100 scholarships up to US $4000/- per course per annum are offered to PIO and NRI students (50 each) for undergraduate courses in Engineering, Science, Law, Management, etc. The scheme is open to NRIs/PIOs from 40 countries with substantial Indian Diaspora population.
- Under this scheme, over 468 PIO/NRI students have benefited since inception & 100 students have been selected in the current batch.
Critically examine how the Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019 would offer great protection against the exploitation of Indian citizens, especially Indian women by their NRI partners.