EAM Jaishankar: Giving dual citizenship to Indians poses challenges: Basics Explained

Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar during an event in Chennai said that the debate on dual citizenship is “still alive and there are a lot of challenges in providing dual citizenship to Indians settled abroad. He pointed out that the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) drive is a step towards meeting the demand of overseas Indians.


India does not allow dual citizenship and OCI is the closest it comes to. OCI is akin to a lifelong visa to live and work in India.

The Government of India’s OCI scheme provides facilities such as life-long visa and exemption from registration with FRRO. It also entitles them to a lot of the same benefits as non-resident Indians (NRIs) ; they also have parity with non-resident Indians with regard to all facilities available to them in the economic, financial, and educational fields, barring matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

When compared, NRIs enjoy more benefits than an OCI cardholders. For example, NRIs have full voting rights for all elections. An NRI can stand for public office and even purchase agricultural land. NRIs can conduct research work without any prior permission.

Citizenship in India is governed by Articles 5 – 11 (Part II) of the Constitution.

Nationality in India mostly follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) and not jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory).

Article 5: Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution

 Article 6: Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan.

 Article 7: Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan.

 Article 8: Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India

 Article 9: Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.

 Article 10: Continuance of the rights of citizenship

 Article 11 : Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law

Citizenship Act, 1955

Citizenship of India can be acquired in the following ways:

Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution

Citizenship by birth; by descent; by registration; by naturalization; by incorporation of territory

Termination of Indian Citizenship

Termination of citizenship is possible in three ways according to the Act:

  1. Renunciation: If any citizen of India who is also a national of another country renounces his Indian citizenship through a declaration in the prescribed manner, he ceases to be an Indian citizen.
  2. Termination: Indian citizenship can be terminated if a citizen knowingly or voluntarily adopts the citizenship of any foreign country.
  3. Deprivation: The government of India can deprive a person of his citizenship in some cases. But this is not applicable for all citizens. It is applicable only in the case of citizens who have acquired the citizenship by registration, naturalization, or only by Article 5 Clause (c) (which is citizenship at commencement for a domicile in India and who has ordinarily been a resident of India for not less than 5 years immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution).


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