Thursday, August 18, 2022

Growing trend: More Indians giving away their citizenship

Recent trend shows that more and more Indians are giving away their Indian citizenship. Citizenship is something which is considered by every citizen in this case Indian as so precious having immense value. Over and above, Indian citizens cherish as long as they live and only as the last resort if and when all options and avenues are closed. Hence, a citizen finally opts to give away his/her citizenship having considered all angles. In the decision-making processes they would have employed rigorous scrutiny and are careful consideration. Those who prefer to give away their citizenship that involves though many aspects, but out of them one could probably be central and crucial that triggers the decision-making processes to finality. A few days ago, in the winter session of the parliament the union minister of state for home J Nityanand Rai in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha said that a total of 1,63, 370 Indian nationals renounced their citizenship in 2021. In 2020, the number had fallen to just 85, 248 from 1,44,217 in 2019, the highest until then. It is unbelievable that a record 1,63, 370 Indian nationals had decided to renounced their citizenship in 2021 that raises serious questions. Prior to getting into the reasons for their renunciation of Indian citizenship and nationality, what are their preferred destination as they reveal multiple aspects along with the key reason.
The data reveals that the highest number of applications that preferred to renounce Indian citizenship in favor of countries such as the United States of America with 78, 284, followed by Australia with 23,533, Canada with 21,549, then the United Kingdom with 14,637 and Italy with 5,986. Along with these countries New Zealand (2,643) and Singapore (2516) have also been gaining preference for India seeking nationalities. The minister of state for home did not disclose the reasons for the record number of Indian renouncing the Indian citizenship in preference to foreign nationality with a passing reference: “for reasons personal to them.”
Nonetheless, it is important to look into the matter as there could be some pivotal reasons India unlike other countries does not allow dual citizenship. And those who want to embrace foreign citizenship will have to renounce Indian citizenship. And the way to surrendering Indian citizenship is to once for all give away the Indian passport. Those who prefer or opt for other passports attach added value or more weightage to the preferred passport that indicates better prospects and status than the country in which they were born and grown. Therefore, there’s no two-ways of going about it – surrendering/renouncing as against opting and preferred – from the country born and brought up to the country preferred and destined.
The choice those who want to renounce Indian nationality in preference to a foreign nationality is hard that runs deep-down intensely which is intriguing. It is bewildering to note that over 3.92 lakh Indians gave up their citizenship in the last three years.
The reasons are diverse that could perhaps be examined, analyzed and evaluated. To start with, it is important to know which age group is keen seeking citizenship in another country. It is not the age-group between 18-30 that by and large prefer to go overseas for education. It is the middle-age segment which is professional and entrepreneurial class wants to quit India for better prospectus. Exodus of this magnitude and gravity is unprecedent. Why should those with professional skills immigrate to other countries? Should this phenomenon be brushed aside or undermined? Those in the ruling dispensation might offer diverse reasons that are elusive, but what is important is to seriously take the ground reality in which we live. The social and political templates echo horrendous levels of injustices and inequalities. Hate speech and hate killings have become the order of the day. Duplicity for rule of law and heckling of free-speech are new normal. FIRs against posts that questions or criticizes the dispensation of its policies.
In view of the volatile and toxic atmosphere prevailing in the country investors do not want to take risks. As long as current vicious political and virulent social climate persists, those who have invested in this country would apparently be prompted to relocate their businesses to other countries where there will be conducive social atmosphere and political stability. Those with innovative capacity and super-skilled professionals are leaving the country for their professional growth along with their families. This would eventually augment and escalate brain-drain. They think and argue that there is no future for them and their children in India.
For innovation and ‘make in India’, India by all means will have this class of people who are endowed with innovation skills and entrepreneurial capabilities. Over and above, in the wake of ‘brain drain’ is like one-way traffic, if it is not contained with checks and balances, India would soon become not “innovative hub”, but “imitator portal” thereby occupying the dubious distinction not “made in India”, but “made for India. Therefore, when we consider the future of India, future of our children and grandchildren, the current dispensation at the Centre should objectively take stock of the situation – why there’s exodus of this class.
Those who have been denouncing India citizenship by surrendering their Indian passports does comprise of cross-sections of the India society. Like the value of Indian rupee nose-diving every day, Indian passport should not lose its unique position.
Dr. I. John Mohan Razu
Professor of Social Ethics

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