Saturday, December 4, 2021

AAP is pushing dual citizenship in Goa: As always follow the money

The Aam Aadmi Party seems to be walking a tightrope in Goa, which goes to polls in February 2022) on matters pertaining to Citizenship if this article is to be believed.

“The party’s state convener and candidate for the South Goa seat Elvis Gomes said that the issue had been pending for several decades since “the traditional parties have been taking our votes and not even bothering to look into this issue.” Claiming that Goa was a ‘unique case’ Gomes said that “nobody can take away the fact” that Goans of a certain generation were Portuguese citizens by birth. Gomes said the party will “definitely examine what could be done”. “We have been Portuguese citizens by birth. Nobody can take it away from us. So here is a case– it’s a unique case — they were born in a Portuguese nation, born as a citizen of Portugal. Thereafter, when liberation took place, by adoption they are Indians,” Gomes said.”

India, in simple words, does not permit dual citizenship. People are welcome to renounce Indian citizenship, following due procedures, but can not claim to have a divine right to being Citizens of India and another country by some sort of divine birthright. How a political party can even make such an offer or claim is beyond any form of comprehension to some of us. There is a gazette notification dated the 4th of March, 2021, which makes this point amply clear.

“OCI cardholders to be treated at par with other foreign nationals in the following cases:

Educational, economic, or financial fields or aspects not categorically listed in the OCI Notification 2021

Rights and privileges not covered under any notification issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA).”

So why do people want dual citizenship if they want to continue to earn, work, live and vote in India? As always, follow the money, and something becomes very clear – rental, sale and otherwise income from real estate is one huge reason. Claim tax exemptions or stay below the radar as “foreigners” and at the same time, demand all the rights and benefits of being Citizens of India living in India – which came to a halt on the 4th of March 2021. This notification, in effect, also defines very clearly the taxation on assets held by such “foreigners”, whether OCIs, NRIs or those claiming “dual citizenship.

It now transpires that the withholding tax on sale of real estate, as well as lease/rental, also, is at 31.2% – when sold by a foreigner / OCI / NRI. And the onus of this is on the buyer / tenant. This process, TAN and PAN, by the buyer/tenant, assumes and places the responsibility of doing a due diligence on the Nationality and Tax Status of the seller on the buyer.

How will that happen if political parties like AAP are looking at pushing forward the concept of some sort of divine and blessed by Portugal type of dual Citizenship in India, Goa?

Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.

A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago. 

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