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NRI Sammelan in Chandigarh India January 2008

The Government of Punjab made a fresh beginning in organising the Punjabi NRI Sammelan on January 5 at Chandigarh. The State proposed to give an overviw of the vision of the Punjab government, curent social and economic issues, investment opportunities and its business plans. Fellow Indians from Punjab who have migrted to foreign countries abroad have brought laurels to their homeland, have excelled in every walk of life and have contriubted generously to the upliftment and betterment of their home State. It is the endeavour of the government of Punjab to bond their brethren with their home land. In their various sessions, the Conference dealt withNRI’s family law related problems, viz., marriage and divorce, maintenance and support and inter-paental child removal.

The conference also dealt with NRIs property related Problems, immigration related questions, problems of repatriation of funds, fast-track resolution of Criminal cases against NRIs.

Session Chairman was Mr. HS Mattewal, Advocate Geneal Punjab. Special guest speakers from Britain were Baroness Usha Prashar and Lord Daljit Rana. From Punjab, Mr. Anil Malhotra, family law expert from Chandigarh, Mrs. Romila Dubey, Financial commissioner, Revenue Punjab, Dr. B.C. Gupta IAS Home Secretary, Punjab, Mr NPS Aulakh IPS, Director General of Police, Punjab, `Mr. Ranjit,Hon. Consular correspondent of Italy for Punjab and Chandigarh.

Propositions for discussion in the legal session included; NRIs family related problems, NRIs property related problems, NRIs Immigrated related problems, and NRIs problems of repatriation of funds. There was also discussion on fast track resolution of criminal cases against NRIs.

Other Important matters discussed at the conference included:

Policy on FDI/NRI Investment: Foreign Direct Investment upto 100% is allowed under the automatic route in all activities except those which require the approval of the Government. FDI policy is notified through press notes issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and are available at the website www.dipp.gov.in.

FEMA replaced FERA w.e.f.June 1,200. FEMA is a civil law and proactive in its outlook compared to FERA. The thrust of FEMA is to manage the foreign exchange resources rather to control them as was done previously under FERA. FEMA has catered to the changed economic scenario by promoting FDI/NRI investment.

The Reserve Bank has granted general permission to NRIs/PIOs for undertaking direct investment in Indian Companies under the automatic route, purchase of shares under Portfolio investment Schemes, investment in companies and proprietorship/partnership concerns on non-repatriation basis and for remittances of current income. NRIs/PIOs do not have to seek specific permission for approved activities under these schemes.

The Reserve Bankof India has now further simplified financial transactions by NRIs/PIOs by granting general permission to:

Resident individuals, partnership/proprietorship concerns to avail of interest bearing rupee loans from nRIs/PIOs out of funds remitted by them from abroad or out of funds held in their bank accounts in India, on non-repatriation basis, subject to certain conditions.

Direct Investment opportunites for NRIs

They can now invest in India as under: 1. Investment under Automatic Route with repatriation benefits; 2, Investment with Government approval; 3, Other investments with repatriation benefits; 4, Iestments upto 100% equity without repatriation benefits; 5, other investments by NRIs without repatriation benefits.

The conference discussed in detail about legal awarness of Indian laws regarding marriage, divorce, maintenance and custody of children.

At present there is no uniform marriage law or uniform Civil Code existing in India. The registration of marriages in India is optional. But the Supreme Court of India has directed Central and State Governments to enact legislation making it compulsory to register all marriages. India has a plural system of laws. However, the Constitution of India, the Indian Penal Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Code are important Central legislations applicable uniformly throughout the territory of India.

By all accounts, the Conference proved to be a great success. For NRIs it proved to be highly fruitful. For the State Government it was a useful exercise in attracting NRis investments in the fast developing economy of Punjab. The NRIs belonging to Punjab can play a pivotal role in the economic progress of Punjab.

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