Over 600,000 Indians gave up citizenship from 2015-19: Govt

A total of 6,76,074 Indians gave up their citizenship and took citizenship of other countries between 2015 and 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs told Parliament on Tuesday.

In 2015, a total of 1,41, 656 Indians gave up their citizenship with some increased number registered next year with 1,44, 942 following the same track.

The number of such people was 1,27,905 in 2017 followed by 1,25, 130 in 2018 and 1,36, 441 in 2019.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai shared the details through a written reply in the Lok Sabha while answering an unstarred question asked by Congress MP from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, Karti P. Chidambaram.

Rai also said that a total of 1,24, 99395 Indians are living in foreign countries.

The Minister, in his reply, also cleared that the information was available with the Ministry of External Affairs.

On the question “whether there has been an increase in the number of people seeking Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card”, Rai said a total of 36,99,476 foreigners registered as OCI cardholders from 2005 to 2020.

As per the data, 289 foreigners were registered as OCI cardholders in 2005. In 2006, there was a sudden spike with 86,321 foreigners registered as OCI cardholders. The number was 1,12,401 in 2007; 1,58,805 in 2008; 1,69,794 in 2009; 2,14, 414 in 2010; 2,62, 647 in 2011; 2,34,826 in 2012; and 2,53,345 in 2013.

The number of OCI cardholders reached 2,20,407 in 2014 when the Narendra Modi government came to power. There was a steep hike in 2015 with 3,16, 331 OCI cardholders followed by 4,03, 900 in 2016; 4,05, 522 in 2017; 3,39,513 in 2018 and 3,29,352 in 2019.

A total of 1,91,609 foreigners registered as OCI cardholders in 2020, which faced lockdown for months due to Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Asked whether the government is considering any proposal for dual citizenship, the Minister said, “No Sir”.