The Modi government is all set to offer people belonging to minority communities of Pakistan, staying in India on a Long Term Visa (LTV), to buy property, open bank accounts and get PAN and Aadhaar cards. The new facilities
would also allow them to register as citizens of India from Rs 15,000 to as low as Rs 100.
As per a rough official estimate, there are around two lakh such people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs.
There are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow.
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Home Ministry issued a notification saying:
“The central government has been constantly reviewing the hardships being faced by the minority communities in Pakistan staying in India on LTV. To ease some of their difficulties, it is proposed to provide the facilities.”
The facilities include permitting opening of bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India subject to certain conditions, permission for purchase of dwelling unit for self-occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment without prior approval of RBI subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.
“Issue of driving licence, PAN and Aadhaar cards, permission to take up self-employment or for doing business which is considered safe from security point of view, dispensing with the requirement of personal appearance before the Foreigners Registration Officer for registration are a few other facilities being planned,” a PTI report
The proposal also allows their free movement within the State/ UT where they are staying instead of restricting their movement within the place of stay.
Other highlights include permission for transfer of LTV papers from one State/ UT to another State/ UT, waiver of penalty on non-extension of short term visa/ LTV on time, permission to apply for LTV at the place of present residence in cases where the applicants have moved to the present place of residence without prior permission.
The proposal also includes simplifying the procedure for grant of Indian citizenship to such nationals belonging to minority communities in Pakistan.
After assuming office, the Modi government has taken several steps including issuance of Long Term Visa (LTV) for these refugees.
In September 2015, the government had decided to allow minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay even after expiry of their visas on humanitarian grounds.