New Delhi: Group CEO of leading Asian budget carrier AirAsia, Tony Fernandes, has been granted Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card by the central government.
The decision has been taken amidst questions being raised over foreign control in AirAsia and Vistara. The Federation of Indian Airlines has raised concerns about control and ownership at AirAsia India. This federation is an association of four domestic carriers --
"I have already applied. I applied last week... then I will be the same as everyone else... I will be the same as Naresh Goyal (Jet Airways Chairman)," media reports in March had quoted Fernandes, who had termed the whole issue of foreign control as bizzare.
"Naresh Goyal (promoter of Jet airways) lives in London as an NRI. SpiceJet used to be owned by an American. IndiGo has tonnes of American shareholders. In fact, you can look at the shareholding, there is more foreign shareholding than local shareholding," Fernandes had said on India Aviation 2016 event in Hyderabad.
The OCI status will grant Tony a status of a non-resident Indian (NRI) in financial and economic transactions as well as that of a Malaysian national.
Fernandes announced this news on the second anniversary of AirAsia India. His father was of Goan origin and during his announcement he said that he was delighted to be granted the OCI status as India has been very close to his heart. Fernandes’s father was from India and Goa is his ancestral homeland.
Fernandes, during his announcement, said that he landed in Goa for the first time only during the inaugural flight of AirAsia India from Bengaluru to Goa.
The OCI status provides a person with an NRI title, which helps them in financial and economic areas apart from getting multiple entry and multi-purpose lifelong visa to visit India.
He is also exempted from reporting to police for any length of stay in India. The main criteria to get the OCI status is that the person who is grandchild/great grandchild of a foreign national who was/or eligible as a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after January 26, 1950, can be given the status of OCI.