People belonging to minority communities of Pakistan, staying in India on Long Term Visa, will soon be allowed to buy property, open bank accounts and get PAN and Aadhaar cards, with the Narendra Modi government planning to roll out special facilities for them.
Among other concessions the BJP-led government is all set to offer them include reduction in fees for registration as citizens of India from Rs 15,000 to as low as Rs 100.
Though the exact number of minority refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan living in India is not known, according to rough official estimates there are around two lakh such people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs.
There are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow.
“The central government has been constantly reviewing the hardships being faced by the minority communities in Pakistan staying in India on LTV. To ease some of their difficulties, it is proposed to provide the facilities,” a notification issued by the Home Ministry says.
The facilities include permitting opening of bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India subject to certain conditions, permission for purchase of dwelling unit for self-occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment without prior approval of RBI subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.
Issue of driving licence, PAN and Aadhaar cards, permission to take up self-employment or for doing business which is considered safe from security point of view, dispensing with the requirement of personal appearance before the Foreigners Registration Officer for registration are a few other facilities being planned.
Allowing free movement within the State/ UT where they are staying instead of restricting their movement within the place of stay, allowing free movement to those living in the National Capital Region (NCR), simplifying the procedure for visit to a place in any other State/ UT are being proposed.
Permission for transfer of LTV papers from one State/ UT to another State/ UT, waiver of penalty on non-extension of short term visa/ LTV on time, permission to apply for LTV at the place of present residence in cases where the applicants have moved to the present place of residence without prior permission are some of the other highlights.