Does NRI mean Non Recognized Indians?

RAM2-webLike most others, I was under the impression that NRI means Non Resident Indians, but then it does not seem to hold water. Let me explain. .

As we all know millions of Indians left their motherland because of multiple reasons. One reason stands out to be the most important one – to grow financially. Especially non reserved middle class had no options left for their careers.

Using their skill as investment, snubbing their emotions they left wherever they could find a place in the world to work hard and grow. In the process they faced many hurdles to stabilize their careers. The objective was to save hard earned money and invest back in the country for their families. As a result the Indian government gained huge foreign exchange as a secondary beneficiary.

Government of India offers various incentives like tax benefits, low lending rates, EPZ and subsidies etc for export companies in India. Through media I had come to know that UPA offered 20 lakhs crore incentives to various companies in India in the last seven years.

I tried to communicate with Sujata Sudarshan, CEO-Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) to know what incentives are offered to NRIs who generate foreign exchange to India as remittance. In response I got information regarding investment opportunities. When Indian firms are offered subsidies and other tax benefits to generate foreign exchange, why Individual NRIs who remit on regular basis to country are alienated?

According to OIFC data NRIs remit close to $ 70B (2012), much higher than FDI to India annually. That means around 4.55 lakh crores ($ =65 rupees) added to Indian economy annually. Instead of offering benefits, some time back the Government of India proposed to tax remittance by NRIs up to 20 percent. Fortunately the idea went into cold storage. Don’t you think it is discrimination against NRIs?

To express tokenism to NRIs, the Indian Government conducts Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and honors few individuals by mentioning NRIs as patriots of the nation. I spoke to GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh to allow me to get connected with Chicago center to share my views. I thought we as a group could communicate to Government of India. Unfortunately my repeated attempts failed. No one knows what the accomplishments are done to protect the interest of NRIs and address their concerns. To be more specific, the event is cultural, about raising investment and a boost for the government in power. Truly it has no value addition for large number of NRIs in the world.

The Indian government never realized the pain and agony that NRIs go through to protect their own investments. Many NRIs lost their investments either in companies or in real estate deals. Truly there is no hope in future.

I really fail to understand why one of the major contributors to Indian economy has no voice to express their concerns? Hope one day we all NRIs represent to Government of India to be treated fairly and get our concerns addressed instead of treating us as a group to raise foreign exchange reserves for India. Will the Indian government understand these NRIs of the nation?


Ram Konduri 

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