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  Case for dual citizenship  
 

RAM PRATAP THAPA

For any nation to flourish, the main agenda of the government should be to create favourable environment for investment and development. It is important that Nepal needs a new policy agenda in post-conflict reconstruction. The reconstruction requires growth and growth is not possible without private sector investment. Private sector is bearing the burden of almost 75 percent of nation´s economy. When the state is not effective enough to provide conducive environment for investment, private sector usually shies away or will not be confident enough to make new investments.

Nepalis at large want to be a part of creating New Nepal where every caste and creed can live in harmony contributing toward economic development of the country. Non-Resident Nepali (NRNs) would also like to engage themselves in this process for the overall development of the country. NRNs strongly believe that their relationship with their near and dear ones in Nepal should remain vibrant – both economically and socially – forever. This is not possible until and unless government creates a policy whereby NRNs have the right to keep their Nepali citizenship or apply for a new one. NRN Association, hence, has been championing the cause of dual citizenship for NRNs as one of its main agenda.

For the last several years, Nepali economy is surviving due to revenue generated from remittance and tourism. NRNs are playing a significant role in both these sectors. NRNs would play an even more significant role in the development of the country if the state provides them with dual citizenship. NRNs have been investing in local development activities such as roads, hospitals, schools and drinking water facilities. If the provision for dual citizenship is introduced by the state, they will be even more enthusiastic to make further investment in local and national development activities.

We have several examples from around the world where dual citizenship has contributed significantly in the socioeconomic development of the country. More than 70 countries including Canada, Australia, the USA, Pakistan and Sri Lanka—among others—allow or accept dual citizenship in one form or another. Dual citizenship helps a person to maintain his/her country of origin´s identity and gives him/her the confidence to compete with others in international arena in whatever comparative edge that he/she commands.

If the government takes measures in creating investment-friendly policies, such as that of India, the new generation of NRNs overwhelmingly would invest in Nepal. For example, we are witnessing large outflow among former British Gurkha soldiers to the United Kingdom after the British government announced that ex-soldiers who have served for at least four years in the British Army would be given residency rights. They are selling off their properties in Nepal and making investments in the UK. The Nepal government should draw its attention toward outward investment where we have lost millions and millions rupees. Dual citizenship is the only means that will allow our money to remain in Nepal.

NRNs don’t have any vested interest in obtaining dual citizenship. All they want is to promote socioeconomic development of Nepal by keeping their citizenship. Nepalis abroad and their children who were born there have risen steadily in several aspects of society – in academics, business, policymaking, medicine, engineering, so on and so forth. They have risen in the field of their expertise because of their brains. They are equipped with realistic solutions and information to develop human, natural and cultural resources to support healthcare provisions, safe environment, sustainable development and economic growth in the context of national priorities, making our vision of a better tomorrow come alive. NRNs can be the bridge between Nepal and their present country of residence to strengthen economic, commercial and trade interactions.
NRNs strongly believe that their relationship with their near and dear ones in Nepal should remain vibrant – both economically and socially – forever. This is not possible until and unless government creates a policy whereby NRNs have the right to keep their Nepali citizenship or apply for a new one.

In order to maintain their social and economic ties with Nepal, NRNs visit Nepal on a frequent basis. During each visit, a person spends hundreds of thousands of rupees. This has a direct repercussion on tourism sector development. The government must be of the opinion that NRNs are not here to take but rather to give back something to the country. This mentality should prevail in the country and government should open all the doors of opportunity for the NRNs to invest in the country.

We believe that lawmakers, policymakers and government are aware and positive of our request for dual citizenship and they should immediately take necessary steps to amend the law. The new constitution should have provision on dual citizenship. Time is of essence – people in authority should decide immediately on dual citizenship before it is too late.

Head of government and political parties have on several occasions given their commitment to bring in the provision of dual citizenship. Nepali citizens also support the issue and we the NRNs are also lobbying wholeheartedly with people in power to realize our dream of dual citizenship. Just because we have obtained foreign citizenship does not mean that we are not close to Nepal. Once a Nepali, always a Nepali!

Writer is the coordinator of the taskforce on dual citizenship set up by the Non-Resident Nepali Association, International Coordination Council

 
Published on 2010-11-21 01:05:17
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Case For Dual Citizenship
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LATEST COMMENTS
I strongly support your brilliant point of view [more]
  - hari
Poor peoples who don´t have enough money to pay mortgage, but pretend to invest money back in Nepal. it is just a lie. Look at the people who work in US, how many Nepalis have real health insurance for their family? If they don´t have health insurance for their family, and prefer to go to emergency and reluctant to give their real home address and SSN to the hospital, how would you like to invest back in Nepal? Are you kidding? At the same time, the Nepalis working in Korea, Japan, T [more]
  - GyaRel
You´re just feeling guilty about dropping your identity for greed. [more]
  - Binod
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