Non-Resident Indians across the world, especially those in middle eastern countries have hailed the union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement in the Lok Sabha on Friday that all NRIs holding Indian passport will be eligible for Aadhaar card soon after their arrival.
Leaders of NRI organisations expressed happiness at the measure as it will make it easier for NRIs to make several day-to-day formal transactions while they are in India for short vacations. They noted that since Aadhaar was mandatory for every formal transaction, from buying a mobile phone card to getting properties registered, the NRIs had faced a lot of hardships. This would go now, they said.
“I warmly appreciate the Union government and the Finance Minister for taking this important measure,” K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman, Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, responded.
Mr. Shamsudheen, a businessman and savings advisor, who lived in the UAE for about half-a-century, had taken the lead in petitioning the Indian authorities to grant Aadhaar to NRIs. Mr. Shamsudheen had met former Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking Aadhaar cards for all NRIs and to press for dropping the clause that the card could be issued to those who had stayed in India for at least 182 days on end. He had explained to the authorities that no employed NRI could afford to stay in India for six months at a stretch to be eligible for the card as it would mean loss of employment.
Mr. Shamsudheen recalled with gratitude that Ms. Swraj had agreed to the request and had taken the initiative which culminated in Friday’s announcement by Ms. Sitharaman. “It has been a single-handed campaign all the last five years,” he said. After the government took office, he said he had shot off letters to many MPs asking them to press the government on the issue.
Mr. Shamsudheen urged the government to authorise Indian embassies and consulates abroad to issue Aadhaar cards to NRIs in the respective counties. He pointed out that at present the embassies issued passports recording biometric identification and hence the same facility could be used for Aadhaar cards too. This would be particularly useful for NRIs in the U.S., Canada, Australia and other countries.
NRI businessman and founder-chairman of Aster DH Healthcare Azad Moopen said in a statement that the decision on Aadhaar would help Pravasis to sort out many issues they faced now for identity and transacting business while in India.
Decision on Aadhaar warms the hearts of NRIs