The National Testing Agency (NTA) has issued a correction related to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Undergraduate (NEET-UG) 2023. The correction pertains to the eligibility of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) candidates who wish to apply for UG medical programs in India. As per the revised rules, OCI medical aspirants can now apply for admission to all UG medical programs in India, subject to the regulations set by the authorities. Previously, OCI cardholders were only permitted to apply for admission to NRI or supernumerary seats.
As per the official notice, an individual holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status can now apply for admission to undergraduate Unani/Siddha/Homeopathy programs in India. However, this is subject to the guidelines issued by the respective regulatory bodies or counselling and admission authorities, which must conform to the policy decisions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) and/or Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). This applies to the rules, regulations, and notifications related to Medical, Dental, Ayurveda, and other related fields.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has released a notice informing NEET (UG) 2023 candidates about a correction to Clause 5.2.2 of the information bulletin. This correction is in response to the judgment dated 03.02.2023 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in W.P(C) 891/2021 and connected matters. The revised provision of Clause 5.2.2 in the Information Bulletin now pertains to the eligibility of OCI cardholders for NEET (UG). Aspiring OCI candidates for NEET (UG) 2023 are advised to read the amended provision of Clause 5.2.2 carefully.
The updated provision now states that individuals holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status can apply for admission to undergraduate medical, dental, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy courses in India. However, this is subject to the guidelines set by the respective regulatory bodies, counselling and admission authorities, and in accordance with the policy decisions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) and/or Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). These rules, regulations, and notifications related to admission must be followed from time to time.
According to the current provision, as per the Notification dated 4 March 2021 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, OCI cardholders have rights that are similar to non-resident Indians under the Citizenship Act, 1955. As per Clause (4) (ii) of the notification, OCI cardholders are allowed to appear for all-India entrance tests, including the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination (Main), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced), or other such tests, but only to be eligible for admission to Non-Resident Indian seats or supernumerary seats. However, OCI cardholders are not eligible for admission to any seat that is exclusively reserved for Indian citizens.
According to the Notification mentioned above, the Explanation states that OCI cardholders, as well as PIO cardholders, are considered foreign nationals, and they hold a passport from a foreign country, which makes them ineligible for Indian citizenship. As such, they are not entitled to seats that are reserved exclusively for Indian citizens. Therefore, OCI/PIO cardholders will be considered foreigners and can only apply for Non-Resident Indian (NRI) seats. They will not be eligible for Indian national seats, including paid seats at deemed universities.
What is OCI?
OCI, or Overseas Citizenship of India, is a status granted to foreign citizens of Indian origin that allows them to live and work in India without any time restrictions. The OCI card was introduced in 2005 by the Indian Government to cater to the needs of Indians residing abroad who desired dual citizenship. Since India does not permit dual citizenship, the OCI card was introduced as an alternative to providing certain benefits to foreign citizens of Indian origin. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2005 presented this option. It is important to note that the difference between NRI and OCI is vast, as the Constitution of India does not allow Indian citizens to possess dual citizenship.
Individuals who are foreign nationals but have the eligibility to become Indian citizens at any time after 1950, and belong to a territory that became part of India after 1947, can register as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). This eligibility also extends to minors of such parents.
In recent times, there has been an increase in queries regarding OCI and its advantages. The OCI card provides a high degree of convenience to foreign individuals who wish to reside in India while maintaining citizenship in another country.