Voting rights and tax breaks among demands from NRIs

Topping the 21-point list couriered to the office of India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and compiled by the UAE-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust was a request for more tax concessions to NRIs since they annually bring in a large cache of foreign exchange.

DUBAI // Voting rights are not the only priority for Indians living overseas, they also wish to invest in infrastructure projects back home and have asked for tax breaks.

Topping the 21-point list couriered to the office of India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, and compiled by the UAE-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust was a request for more tax concessions to NRIs since they annually bring in a large cache of foreign exchange.

The letter also asks for less red-tape with single window clearances for NRI entrepreneurs willing to set up businesses or joint ventures in India.

Among other demands was reinstating the 40 per cent preferential allotment of shares for NRIs in initial public offerings withdrawn by the previous Congress-led government, exempting NRIs from short-term capital gain tax and reducing import duty on gold.

The 14-page letter was also sent to the finance, overseas Indian affairs and aviation ministries.

The trust urged the new government to permit NRIs to invest in long-term investment options such as the tax exempt Public Provident Fund, reduce tax on the savings account NRIs can operate in India and ensure the newly-instituted investment and insurance scheme for labourers is only open to NRIs with a monthly income below US$300 (Dh1,100).

Other items included issuing long-term tax free infrastructure bonds for NRIs for development projects, allotting seats in technical institutions for children of overseas Indian workers, pension schemes and affordable housing for returning workers.

The letter also asked that the government intervenes and pay as per international norms compensation to families of those who died in the Air India Express flight from Dubai that crashed in Mangalore four years ago.

It listed a recurring demand for NRIs to cast their vote via postal ballot or through polling arrangements in overseas embassies. NRIs were granted the right to vote in India’s elections following a 2010 government notification but must go back to India to do so.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

Published: May 26, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE