Globalization and its impact on Citizenship

  • by Mayuri Khanna

Citizenship implies full and equal membership of a political community. In the contemporary world, states provide a collective political identity to their members as well as certain rights. Therefore we think of ourselves as Indians, or Americans, depending on the state to which we belong.

However, the precise nature of the rights granted to citizens may vary from state to state but in most democratic countries today they would include some political rights like the right to vote, civil rights like the freedom of speech or belief, and some socio-economic rights which could include the right to a minimum wage, or the right to education. Equality of rights and status is one of the basic rights of citizenship.

Due to the concept of Citizenship, Citizens expect certain rights from their state as well as help and protection wherever they may travel.

However due to globalization the concept of citizenship with respect to particular state is becoming more complex.

The movement of people across national boundaries to live and work calls into question issues of national identity and belonging, of membership in a polity, and of the rights that accrue to that membership. For example, an Indian who have migrated from the country for work and renounced once citizenship wants to reconnect with the nation. Then question arises what their rights and duties are with respect to the India.

To meet this requirement Government of India has come up with concept of “Overseas Citizen of India”. An Overseas Citizen of India or OCI is the licence to get lifelong visa to travel seamlessly across India. Its holder is defined as:

  • The one who formerly resigned Indian citizenship.
  • The one whose parents, grandparents or great grandparents were once the citizen of India.
  • The one who is married to an existing OCI or India’s citizen and the wedding is at least two years old.
Benefits of OCI

· The card holder can travel without visa in India multiple times for lifelong.

· They can become the citizen of this country if they continue to retain OCI card for 5 years. But here is a condition applied that that person would have spent at least one year in India. And also, the breaks for short intervals are allowed.

· Immigration check posts have separate counters for their speedy verification and entry.

· Separate visa for student and employment is not needed.

· They can open NRE, NRO or FCNR account in Indian banks.

· Indian market, except non-farm property and exercise property ownership rights, is open for them to invest

· They can use it for getting driving licence and PAN Card

· Economic, financial and educational leverages will be theirs just like NRIs.

·   They can visit National Parks, monuments, Wild Life Sanctuaries and museums provided they have paid the requisite fee for OCIs.

· They also can be registered with FRRO. No time of stay is considered in their case.

Drawbacks of OCI

· Buying agricultural land or farm house or plantation property is not their right.

· They can’t vote like PIOs.

· They can’t run public office also.

· Government jobs & political positions are not for them

· Need special permission to visit certain restricted locations here.

The above example states that the classical notion of democratic citizenship, which was essentially linked with the territory of the nation-state, is gradually losing its relevance in the age of globalization.

Prior to the forces of globalization, the nation state was enjoying autonomy to confer citizenship rights to the individual. But now the state is no more the sole authority to define the nature of citizenship. With the emergence of age of globalization, different dimensions of citizenship rights are granted by number of international organizations, conventions, etc.

For example: The United Nations Convention on Migrants emphasizes the connection between migration and human rights. The Convention aims at protecting migrant workers and members of their families; its existence sets a moral standard, and serves as a guide and stimulus for the promotion of migrant rights in each country.

Similarly rights for Refugees have been defined which sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.

Further the recent wave of violence and economic hardship are changing patterns of migration As movements of people across borders increase, social homogeneity within individual States declines. An increasing number of States are exhibiting characteristics of multiculturalism.’ As a result, States are increasingly faced with the challenge of developing or maintaining a sense of national cohesion and unity in a context of ethnic and cultural diversity. Key policy questions about the acquisition of citizenship arise with respect to immigrants, their immediate family members, and their descendants. It is thus raising a debate of nationalism vs. human rights. This may result into xenophobic violence as seen in Europe which may threaten the peace and stability of world.

Conclusion

Many countries are providing new form of citizenship with restricted rights and duties to integrate people together in this globalised world.

This integration of new concepts of Citizenship has lead to rise of the concept of GLOBAL CITIZEN.

A Global Citizen is someone who is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen. A global citizen, living in an emerging world community, has moral, ethical, political, and economic responsibilities such as:

  1. Responsibility to understand one’s own perspective and the perspectives of others on global issues.
  2. Responsibility to respect the principle of cultural diversity by developing tolerance.
  3. Responsibility to understand global issues and participate at individual level to minimize the impact such as that of Climate change.
  4. Global citizenship entails an awareness of the interdependence of individuals and systems and a sense of responsibility that follows from it.

Practicing oneself as global citizen is ethical as it keep oneself conscious related to one’s actions. Everyone should try to strengthen the feeling of connectedness and work towards the establishment of peaceful society but the right and duties with respect to one nation should be followed wholeheartedly (without development of chauvism).