What NRIs want from the Budget

Budget comes and goes but misery goes on forever - this used to be the phrase 40+ years ago. Will it be different this time?

A small wish list from Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Budget
A small wish list from Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Budget

A small wish list from Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Budget

This is the second in series of articles on Budget.
Non-Resident Indians (or should we be called Janma Bhoomi Priya(JBP)?) have been hopeful that the new dispensation in New Delhi gets it. It sees the commitment Prime Minister Modi and his dedicated cabinet is putting into accelerating development in a world that is slowing down. Every country that Modi visited, he has drawn thousands who chanted “Bharat Maata ki Jai” regardless of which Karma Bhoomi they belonged to. Here is a small wish list from NRIs from the Budget:

  • The implementation of Visa-on-arrival is flawless. Kudos to the Government for putting this together. Can a similar, easy process be devised for giving JBPs a way to get their Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card?

  • Simplify tax code. Many JBPs hold savings bank accounts in India and their interest income is deducted at source (TDS). Do not insist that they should also file their returns in India. Ideally it would be nice if you could do away with TDS as long as the money is kept in India for a period of say 5 years.

  • Encourage JBPs to invest in CrowdFunding, a model that was proposed in this article. While the baby steps it is taking to allow foreign investment is welcome, a bold reform to allow free investment in the form of crowdfunding would not only bring in foreign exchange, it would also encourage the diaspora to disseminate their knowledge freely.

  • The most common answer I get when I ask foreigners whether they have invested in India is that it is easy to put money in but difficult to take it out. This must change. The current method of using Participatory Notes to bring in foreign currency hides the reality of India’s potential from the common investor and should be done away with.

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