Role of NDA Government in uplifting Indian Diaspora status

    09-Jan-2021
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-Pravesh Kumar
 

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Indian diaspora is one of the prosperous and influential Diasporas of the world estimated at over 25 million spread across every region in the world. Every year on January 9 Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas is celebrated in India to commemorate the journey of M K Gandhi from Africa and to recognise the diaspora contribution in the development of India. Last year, Indian government celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of M K Gandhi.
 
Indian diaspora simply means groups of people who trace their origins to India or the Indian citizens living abroad. It includes all the Non-Resident Indian (NRI), People of Indian Origin) (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). Indian diaspora is the result of different waves of processes and struggles like mercantilism, colonialism, and globalisation. Broadly, Indian Diasporas can be divided into three categories. First descendants of indentured Indian laborers who were brought by Britishers to Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, East Africa, the Malay Peninsula, Caribbean and South America (Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname) to work on sugarcane plantations and for the prosperity of the European settlers. Later these people settled there. Second, living in OECD countries like the USA, Britain, France, and other western countries in pursuit of better career prospects and living and gathered momentum of IT professionals in the 1990s. The third was the flow of unskilled and semi-skilled workers going mostly to the Gulf countries and Malaysia due to the oil boom in the Gulf countries, mainly from Kerala and other south Indian states to taking the advantage of the Oil Booming.
 
Diaspora of any Country helps in the development, technology transfer, charity, tourism, political contributions, and more substantial flows of knowledge of the nation. Indian diaspora is also the identity of Indian soft power in the world for example in Indo-US nuclear deal, Indian diaspora successfully lobbied for Indian favor. Second India also gets the remittance around 70 billons dollar every year from its diaspora who contribute to Indian GDP. Third, they are also called the agents of change as they help in the development of trade and tourism and technical sector, Indian diaspora also donate in charities because of strong cultural and emotional feelings Fourth They also repute Indian name in the world.
 
What the Indian Government has done?
 
The govt has done a great deal of work to safeguard the interest of Indian Diaspora Like making separate laws for its diaspora. However, in the past, they had many challenges because the govt of India distanced from them. For example, the nationalist backlash against the Indian communities in Africa and Asia in the 1950s and 1960s saw Delhi separation itself from the diaspora networks. The “brain drain Theory was not taken seriously by the government thus result well-trained Indians began to look for opportunities in other countries. It was only in the late 2000s that Delhi began to rethink its approach to the diaspora.
 
Major achievement under Vajpayee Government
 
The NDA government between 1998 and 2004 emphasised all aspects of the Indian diaspora. Atal Bihari Vajpayee saw the long-term strategic value of the engagement when he called for a ‘partnership among all children of Mother India so that our country can emerge as a major global player. A committee was constituted in 2000 under the leadership of L.M. Singhvi, an MP, to strengthen the bonds with the overseas Indian communities. The committee’s recommendations led to the initiation of what we now know as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and the formation of a separate Ministry for Overseas Indians. Other suggestions covered important cultural, educational and social subjects forming the basis of some innovative initiatives like the Know India Programme (KIP) and Study India Programme (SIP). Know India Program (KIP aims to youth (18-30) to familiarize them with Indian roots and contemporary India. These have engaged the youth living abroad and the Tracing the Roots Scheme, through which some Indians have been able to trace their roots in India.
 
Expansion under Modi Government
 
With coming to power, PM Modi has affirmed that India is proud of its diaspora’s achievements around the world. He praised them for the acceleration of India’s economic and social development. Modi has also used political diplomacy to attract millions of Indian diaspora living in different regions of the world. Relaxing the visa norms for the overseas communities, improving physical connectivity, and the ease of doing business in India has been the policy consequences of Modi’s more intensive outreach to the diaspora.
 
Recently the Govt of India has taken various policy initiatives. The government introduced the Pravashi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) aim to skill development of emigrant Indian workers. Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children (SPDC) to cover 100 students from PIO and NRI for undergraduate program In 2019 Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana. Under the scheme, a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year. In Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, some relaxations were given to OCI. The OCI citizenship of any person will not be canceled even merely registering a simple case.
 
Notwithstanding, Some Challenges are identifying with Indian Diaspora Some sections of Indian diaspora spread the negative battling against India through NGOs. For instance. In the backdrop of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in February 2018, multiple media outlets carried articles on the strongest support for the Khalistan movement. Hope govt of India will find the solution to these problems.
 
Conclusion
 
One could argue that the Diaspora strategy and Indian foreign policy are two sides of the same coin. As talked about above, it is gainful and counterproductive too. India is yet to use the capability of Indian Diaspora in its space of foreign affairs. For example, India has been requesting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, yet it has not been acknowledged up until now. Indian Diaspora can be used for accomplishing the long due yearnings of India. With the versatile role of Diaspora, India could fulfill its cherished dream of being a superpower and it could make much headway in its international and foreign affairs.