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NDA’s Travel Plan for Bangladeshis

POSTED ON 21 JUNE 2014

wasbir hussain
Executive director,
cDPS & visiting fellow, ipcs

Well, ideas are flowing thick and fast from the Modi Government. In fact, so fast that some of these ideas have forced the brand new NDA regime to clarify things, like the controversy over the push-Hindi plan. What has come as a surprise and is a matter of grave concern for us in the region is the Modi Government's idea of letting in Bangladeshi nationals above 65 years and below 18 years without Visa and letting everyone else come to India several times on a single Visa. Besides, there is talk of Visa on Arrival in India for Bangladesh citizens.

When illegal migrants are flowing in, rather freely, and continues to be a live issues in states like Assam where elections are won or lost depending on the stand a party takes on the matter, the NDA Government's idea of possible visa-less travel of minors and senior citizens have come as a shock. In fact, this is contrary to Mr Modi's pledge or promise during the poll campaign that come May 16th (the results day) and Bangladeshis (illegal migrants) will be ousted from India.

The idea of visa-less travel is dangerous because it would open the floodgate of migration of all kinds of people, of all ages (with forged or fake age documents) to try and enter India. Besides, the Indian authorities will find it hard to keep track of such visitors. When Indian authorities are faced with the problem of a huge number of Bangladeshis entering our country on proper travel documents and then destroying their passports to merge with the population, the idea of visa-less travel of people from that country could pose a huge challenge.

Yes, multiple visits on a single visa or introduction of bus services between the two nations through newer routes are ideas that can surely be considered. In fact, I am even against the Work Permit idea because those Bangladeshis who may have migrated illegally have already procured or managed the right documents, be it land documents or tax-paying documents. Only those who have migrated but are unable to procure such documents will avail of the Work Permits and that will actually encourage fresh migration.

Also Read: ASSAM - DEMOGRAPHIC JITTERS by Wasbir Hussain