Members of Indian Parliament interacting with GOPIO, Indian banks, and Air India officials, at a meeting hosted by Indian Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty, in New York, Oct. 27. (Photo: GOPIO)

In a recent interaction with visiting Members of Parliament from India, GOPIO brought some of the current issues faced by the Indian American diaspora with respect to the initiatives of the Indian government that included demonetization, Aadhaar, and real estate, among others.

GOPIO officials including Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, International Coordinator for North America Dr. Rajeev Mehta, and GOPIO International Chamber of Commerce co-chairman Prakash Shah were in attendance at a one-to-one interactive meeting hosted by the Indian Consulate in New York, Oct. 27. Organized by Consul General of India in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty, the meeting also had in attendance, visiting Members of Parliament from India – T.K.S. Elangovan, Rammohan Naidu Kinjarapu, Raghav Lakhanpal, Bhatruhari Mahtab, Hiterndra Reddy Amdayala Paddu, Anil Gulabrao Shirole, Harshvarsh Narayan Singh and Kodikunnel Suresh.

Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty welcomed the guests and Deputy Consul General Paramita Tripathi made a presentation of the history and role played by the Indian Consulate in New York. Cox and Kings, a subcontractor with the Indian government, also made a presentation.

Some of the key issues discussed by GOPIO in the interactive session included –

Demonetization: Millions of OCI card holders and Indians with foreign citizenship are still holding demonetized currencies (between Rs. 7,500 to 10,000 crores) since they were not allowed to deposit them during the extended period of Jan. 1 to June 30. GOPIO officials raised the question, what to do with these currencies?

Aadhaar: The Reserve Bank of India had issued a clarification, Oct. 21, saying that the linking of Aadhaar card with bank accounts is mandatory under prevention of money-laundering rules. The central bank was responding to news reports that quoted an RTI reply on linking Aadhaar by Dec. 31, 2017. However, Gov’t. of India, Ministry of Finance had issued a press release, April 5, saying that Aadhaar card needs to be linked for income tax filing only for those who are eligible to obtain the card. However, no statement has been issued whether NRIs need to link bank accounts with Aadhaar card.

NRIs are not currently eligible to get an Aadhaar card. GOPIO suggests that all Indian citizens irrespective of staying in India or outside must be given Aadhaar card similar to the Social Security Number issued to all American citizens living in the U.S. or outside.

Real Estate: Many NRIs have not been able to get the ownership rights to real estate even when they have paid for the property, especially in places like Noida and Gurgaon. Their inherited properties are also being taken over by unsuspecting relatives and others in connivance with local officials.

The members of the parliament interacted with GOPIO officials and others present at the meeting and promised to take up the issue with appropriate authorities in India.