Renunciation of Indian Citizenship

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    In News

    • Recently, Government Data claimed that over 3.9 lakh Indians gave up citizenship in the past 3 yrs to settle abroad.

    Key Findings

    • America emerged as the top choice among 103 countries where the emigrants settled.
    • 2021: More than 1.63 lakh Indians relinquished their citizenship in 2021 alone. Of them, more than 78,000 took US citizenship.

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    • 2019 and 2020: While 1.44 lakh Indians gave up their citizenship in 2019, the numbers fell in 2020 to 85,256 in 2020, before rising again last year.
    • Reason: The most common reason given was “Personal”.
    • Other Countries: Apart from choosing countries such as Singapore (7,046) and Sweden (3,754), many have also renounced their citizenship for Bahrain (170), Angola (2), Iran (21), and Iraq (1) — one person took the citizenship of Burkina Faso in 2021.
      • More than 1,400 persons took Chinese citizenship, while 48 persons renounced their citizenship for Pakistan’s.
    • Most citizenships acquired: The largest numbers of Indians who relinquished Indian citizenship in 2021 went to:
      • The United States (78,284), 
      • Australia (23,533), 
      • Canada (21,597), and 
      • The United Kingdom (14,637).

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    Citizenship and India

    • About: 
      • No dual Citizenship: Under the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, Persons of Indian Origin are not allowed citizenship of two countries
      • Surrendering the passport: If a person has ever held an Indian Passport and then obtains the passport of some other country, they will be required to surrender their Indian Passport immediately after they gain nationality of the other country.
        • After Indians renounce their citizenship, it is necessary for them to apply for surrender or a renunciation certificate.
      • Cancelled stamp: It should be noted that Indian passports that carry only a “cancelled stamp” are not considered renounced of their Indian citizenship.
    • Constitutional Provision
      • Citizenship is listed in the Constitution’s Union List and hence falls within Parliament’s sole control.
      • The term “citizen” is not defined in the Constitution; however, Part 2 describes the numerous types of people who are eligible for citizenship (Articles 5 to 11).
    • Indian citizenship can be obtained in the following ways:
      • Citizenship conferred by birth
      • Citizenship through descent
      • Citizenship through registration
      • Naturalization leads to citizenship.
      • Territorial incorporation (by the Government of India)
    • Termination of citizenship:
      • Renunciation: Any Indian citizen who is also a national of another country who renounces his Indian citizenship in the prescribed manner through a declaration ceases to be an Indian citizen.
      • Termination: An Indian citizen’s citizenship can be revoked if he or she knowingly or voluntarily adopts the citizenship of another country.
      • Deprivation: In some cases, the Indian government may deprive a person of his citizenship. However, this does not apply to all citizens. Conditions for deprivation are:
        • Obtained the citizenship by fraud.
        • Citizen has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India.
        • Citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated during the times of war.
        • Within 5 years of naturalization, the said citizen is imprisoned for a term of two years.
        • Citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for a period of 7 years.
    • Reason for renouncement of Citizenship:
      • The reasons vary widely from country to country, and among socio-economic and ethnic groups. 
      • In general, around the world, people leave their countries for better jobs and living conditions, and some are pushed out by climate change or unfavourable political situations at home.
      • Family: As the Indian diaspora around the world has increased in numbers, with newer generations holding passports of other countries, some older Indians are choosing to leave to be with family settled overseas. 
      • Fleeing: Some people who leave India may be fleeing the law or fear of legal action for alleged crimes.
        • Another Report: A 2020 report by the Global Wealth Migration Review showed that high net worth individuals around the world who renounce citizenship acquired at birth may do so for reasons of rising crime rates or the lack of business opportunities at home
        • It can also be a sign of bad things to come as (they) are often the first people to leave — they have the means to leave unlike middle class citizens.
      • Some more social reasons: Safety of women and children, lifestyle factors like climate and pollution, financial concerns including taxes, better healthcare for families and educational opportunities for children, and to escape oppressive governments.
      • Jobs: The post-Independence diasporic community have been going (out of India) for jobs and higher education. Those who leave for jobs can be unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled labour.
        • By contrast, the pre-Independence diasporic movement was completely different, where forced and contractual labour movement was witnessed
        • Due to the indentured labour from the Indian subcontinent, particularly during the 19th century, where large numbers of individuals were forced and tricked into bonded labour and slavery and shipped by the colonial government.
        • They were shipped to places like Mauritius, La Réunion, the Strait Settlements, Fiji, Natal, South Africa, British Guiana, Trinidad, Suriname, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Jamaica, Belize, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, etc.
      • Privileges: Majority of the Indians do it because of the privileges they get using the passports of other countries.
      • World passport index: India stands at the 69th number on the passport power rank according to the world passport index.
        • When comparing it with other countries – the rank of Australia is 3rd, USA is 5th, Singapore is 6th and Canada is 7th. At the top are UAE on number 1 and New Zealand on number 2.
      • Visa-free access: The higher the passport index ranking, the better access they get to travel visa-free to many countries.
      • Exempted from bureaucratic delays: They are also exempted from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process which is beneficial for traders and businessmen.

    Source: IE