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Prime Minister announces VoA for Australian tourists

Sets 2-month deadline for merger of OCI & PIO status; urges Indian diaspora to support Clean India campaign

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

As per a PTI report, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi today assured Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility for Australian tourists and announced a two-month deadline for the long-pending merger of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) status to woo the Indian diaspora from whom he sought support for his ambitious Clean India campaign.

Addressing a crowd of around 20,000 in the packed Allphones Arena in Sydney, Modi said, "Let's open the windows let fresh air come in," referring to his government's efforts to weed out obsolete laws.

"This welcome, this respect, this enthusiasm I dedicate it to the people of India," said Modi, the first Indian PM to visit Australia in 28 years.

Modi announced that his government was working on to facilitate VoA for Australian tourists and said the PIO and OCI status will be merged ahead of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to be held from January 7, 2015, in Ahmedabad.

Modi had announced merger of PIO and OCI during his visit to the US in September but had not given a timeline then. The PM also referred to economic reforms unveiled by his government and said India has become an attractive destination for investment. He also said FDI in Railways has been hiked to 100 per cent and hoped that Australian companies will invest in creating rail infrastructure in the country.

The PM also stressed on the Clean India campaign saying that more tourists would come if the country was cleaner. He also asked the Indian diaspora to extend their support to the campaign and said they can contribute significantly in developing the villages they come from. "I request you to contribute. God has given you so much," he said.

"Cleaning up or removing litter. This is not a job that lacks dignity...this is a job that must be respected," he said.

He also announced a Sydney Cultural Center would be established by India and it will be made functional by February 2015. (Source: PTI)

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