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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reforms first then investments: Diaspora

Even before the Indian government could come up with a list of things that the diaspora can do for the social development of India, the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) has handed over a list of issues that need to be settled first.

The Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has asked the Indian government to relax stringent Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) norms and custom duties if it wants financial and other help from the Indian diaspora.

They have also asked for special fast track courts to settle litigations like property dispute.

Raising the issues that hamper massive participation of the Indian diaspora, chairman of the GOPIO Inc in USA Dr Thomas Abraham said there is a wide gap between what the government is expecting from them and what the PIOs can actually do.

Urging the Indian government to create a mechanism to facilitate flow of resources from the NRIs and PIOs to meet the education and health needs of the people here, the GOPIO has sought a review of the FCRA so that the NRIs and PIOs can easily fund projects and NGOs in India.

“I understand the Indian government’s concern relating to security but the economy here is so huge that anyone who wants to bring illegal funds can find ways to sneak it in. These stringent norms have severely restricted flow of funds to charity. The government needs to change its attitude for the NGOs and non-profit making organisations,” Dr Abraham said.

The PIOs indicated that heavy custom duties discourage them from donating books, toys, computers and medical equipment to schools and hospitals. “The Indian government expects diaspora to make investments but doesn’t allow charity. It should understand that NRIs and PIOs want to participate in other ways too,” Abraham added.

Clearly wording its apprehensions about investing in India the organisation which serves the 25 million-strong Indian diaspora said due to a growing number of property scams the NRIs, PIOs are being discouraged to invest in India.

“The NRIs/PIOs are at a great disadvantage to contest property issues in courts in India mainly due to the length of the time it takes to settle. This is harassment. India should enact a legislation to designate fast track courts – that can decide matters in 30 days or so — for NRIs/PIOs for speedy settlement of their cases,” Abraham concluded.


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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