Centre has announced that it plans to simplify rules for grant of Indian citizenship to minority Hindus from Pakistan.
Proposal also envisages allowing "minority communities of Pakistan staying in India on a Long Term Visa" to buy property, open bank accounts and obtain permanent account number (PAN) and Aadhaar number, a home ministry official said in national capital.
According to the proposal, the collectors or district magistrates of 18 districts will be empowered for two years' period to grant citizenship to such people at heavily reduced fees.
The districts are Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Kutch and Patan (Gujarat), Bhopal and Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune and Thane (Maharashtra), West Delhi and South Delhi (National Capital Territory), Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
Having reviewed "the hardships being faced by the minority communities in Pakistan staying in India on Long Term Visa", the government also plans to allow such people to open bank accounts and obtain PAN and Aadhaar number, the official said.
The feedback may be sent to the foreigners cell of the union home ministry.
It is further proposed that the fees for registration as citizen of India for nationals of Pakistan belonging to minority communities be reduced from Rs 5,000 (under registration) and Rs 15,000 (under naturalisation) to a uniform fee of Rs.100 each at the time of application and at the time of grant of certificate of registration or naturalisation.
"There are reports that a number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities in those countries, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, have been compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution," the official said.
Many of these people enter India either without any valid travel document or with one whose validity has expired.