Maneka Gandhi: 45 passports of NRIs cancelled for abandoning their wives

The Indian government has cancelled the passports of 45 non-resident Indians (NRIs) reportedly for abandoning their wives, Maneka Gandhi, woman and child development minister, said yesterday.

Maneka Gandhi, Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development. Photo courtesy: FB page of Maneka Gandhi

The Integrated Nodal Agency formed to look into the matter has been issuing Look-Out Circulars to absconding husbands in NRI marriages and 45 passports have been impounded by the External Affairs Ministry, Gandhi said.

The agency is chaired by the secretary in the women and child development ministry, Rakesh Srivastava.

Last month, a bill was introduced which makes the registration of marriage compulsory within 30 days, failing which the groom may lose his passport and property as well. Gandhi expressed dismay that the bill got stalled in the upper house.

The MEA has addressed as many as 4,985 complaints between January 2015 and November 30, 2018 of distressed married women who have been deserted by their NRI husbands.

With an aim to provide financial and legal assistance to distressed women married to NRI spouses by all Missions and Posts, the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) Guidelines were revised in September, 2017. The amount of legal and financial assistance to distressed Indian women has also been increased to USD4000 per case.