Non-resident Indians (NRIs) on Friday welcomed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s announcement in the Lok Sabha on Friday that all NRIs holding an Indian passport will be eligible for the Aadhaar card.
“I warmly appreciate the Union government and the Finance Minister for taking this important measure,” K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman of UAE-based charity Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, told The Hindu.
Mr. Shamsudheen, a businessman and savings advisor who has lived in the UAE for about half a century, had taken the lead in petitioning the Indian authorities to grant the Aadhaar card to NRIs. He had met former External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj seeking the card for all NRIs and pressed for dropping the clause that it will be issued to those who have stayed in India at least for 180 days.
He had explained to the authorities that no employed NRI could afford to stay in India for six months at a stretch to be eligible for the card as it would mean loss of employment.
Mr. Shamsudheen recalled with gratitude that Ms. Swaraj had agreed to the request and had taken the initiative that culminated in Friday’s announcement by Ms. Sitaraman.
“Since Aadhaar is a must for every formal transaction in India — from buying a mobile phone, car, getting a child admitted to a CBSE school to getting property registered — the NRIs have faced a lot of hardship,” he noted. “This will go now.”