As the rich flee the country, dual citizenship is the only option
Cleofato Almeida Coutinho
Next Monday our PM shall hoist the national flag from the ramparts of red fort to complete the festivities called ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and we enter ‘Amrit Kaal’ a period named by the present government between the 75th independence day and the 100th in 2047. Nehru started with a bleeding economy. The green revolution in the mid-60s has converted our country from an importer to exporter of food grains. Our production of fruits, milk and pulses is incredible. Our literacy rate life expediency at birth is increasing at a very high rate. The infant mortality is decreasing. We have almost eradicated polio and withstood the covid 19 pandemic. Our vaccine production has made us an advanced nation in scientific research and technology. The telecom revolution, space technology and on the atomic energy front we are far ahead. There is a infrastructural revolution going on in the country. In the index doing business we are ahead of many countries. Our rich and elite are getting richer and the number of millionaires is increasing. It is expected that the rich and elite population in India to rise by 80% by 2031 making us a growing wealth market, though we have the world’s largest poor population with pervasive unemployment As the report card of 75 years trickles in the international bodies damns our country for being a ‘flawed democracy’ (Economist Intelligence Unit) or ‘elected autocracy’ (V-Dem Sweden), or ‘partly free’(US Freedom House), our show piece as a democratic society, is getting reduced to land of elections. There is another disturbing information available that 1.63 Indians renounced their citizenship. This number has doubled over period of 5 years. A 2018 report found that 23 thousand Indian millionaires took a one way ticket since 2014. A Morgan Stanley Report in 2018 tells us that India lost highest percentage of dollar millionaires to migration between 2014 and 2018. Global wealth migration review tells us that 5000 millionaires left the country in 2020 alone. It is expected that 8000 dollar millionaires shall quit India in 2022. Indians always migrated for better opportunities; there has always been a rush for US H1B Visa for employment. Shrinking job opportunities and declining wage packets have been a great reason for migration. Goans went aboard for better prospects for decades. The farmers of Punjab moved to Canada and UK over a century ago. Indian professionals started leaving India in search of better working and living conditions. But the scale at which Indians are giving up Indian citizenship is alarming. .It is unfortunate that the ministry of Home Affairs claimed in parliament that the reasons for renouncing Indian citizenship are personal. From the recent figures one thing is certain people who are fleeing are the rich, elite and highly educated. This is a privileged section, not persecuted. They have benefited from the Indian economic system and the country’s elite institutions of higher education. They are now looking at the greener grass on the other side. They may even find greener pastures this side in the future. The exodus of capital and the constant outflow of rich giving up Indian citizenship is a serious concern in our plans of tax planning and meeting economic targets. The country will also get harmed physiologically. IT was expected that they would all waive the flag as part of ‘Amrit Kaal’ They are just running away pushing that burden of nationalistic fevour on the poor and the underprivileged. That’s not fair Generally a country looses large number of rich and elite to migration when the country faces serious problems of high crime rate lack of business opportunities and unhealthy political climate. A higher standard of living, better educational standard for children and health facilities in old age are the other key drivers. According to Henley and Partners …countries that provide excellent infrastructure for wealth preservation is likely to remain a popular destination. India does not allow dual citizenship. When our constitution was formulated it was was time for loyalty to one country. There were too many biases about other countries. There was very little camaraderie with the neighbouring countries Many advanced countries have seen since the advantages of dual citizenship in times. .We seem to live in the past and obstinate with our policies Portuguese nationality laws entitles Goans born before Dec. 1961 up to the third generation being entitled to Portuguese citizenship if they opt for. After the European Union was formed Goans exploited that privilege of obtaining Portuguese citizenship for employment opportunities to more effluent European countries and have lost or are on the verge of losing Indian citizenship. Cutting the umbilical cord with the country of birth would be a first choice only of the few and the rich. The poorer and the under privileged may make that choice as they hardly have options. Their heart and soul is always in the country of their birth and the choice to migrate is hardly any choice. The India diaspora particularly in western world and Indian had been forceful over demand for dual citizenship considered as a progressive move. However the Indian Government rejected its own comprehensive report on dual citizenship and instead formulated the PIO scheme and the OCI card for benefiting those who hold foreign nationality. That has not helped the diaspora much. Buying property and taking part in the electoral process firms up the psychological connect with the country of birth. Buying property and taking part in the electoral process firms up the commitment The Indian rich and the elite who obtain citizenship of other countries make a conscious choice at high costs, but it is the underprivileged who quit the country do it as they get pushed to the wall. Dual citizenship is the need of the hour. It will help the non-privileged and help rich to have flourishing businesses. The country shall get investments also.