Contribution of Indian Diaspora

  • IASbaba
  • January 10, 2022
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(Sansad TV: Perspective)

Dec 8: Contribution of Indian Diaspora – https://youtu.be/-GaS1S-7Asw 


  • GS-2- Indian Diaspora

Contribution of Indian Diaspora

Diasporas are symbol of a nation’s pride and represent their country internationally. 

  • They help in building country’s value internationally through their huge success stories. The diaspora’s ability to spread Indian soft power, lobby for India’s national interests, and contribute economically to India’s rise is now well-recognized. 
  • One of the greatest economic contributions of Indian diaspora has been in terms of remittances. According to a World Bank Report, India received approximately 87 billion dollars in remittances in 2021 with USA being the biggest source, accounting for over 20% of these funds.
  • To mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)

  • January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is celebrated once in every two years to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government of India and reconnect them with their roots.
  • During the Convention, selected overseas Indians are also honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to recognize their contributions to various fields both in India and abroad. 

Role of Indian Diaspora

There are over 32.1 million NRIs and PIOs residing outside India. The Indian diasporic communities are “unnamed ambassadors” promoting and maintaining the rich Indian culture and interests on foreign lands.

Indian diaspora as a biggest strategic asset for India:

  • Global labour source: With one of the largest pools of relatively low wage semi-skilled and skilled labour, India can become a critical centre of global labour sources. The past few decades has seen an upsurge of migration from India to the Gulf and, to North America. Given these emerging realities, India take advantage of these future trends to not only maximise the welfare of Indians outside the country, but also those within the country Can international migration and the Diaspora be a strategic asset for the country instead of just depleting its best and brightest.
  • Influential Positions: From Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Nobel laurete scientist Har Gobind Khorana and Microsoft CEO Sathya Nadella to world’s one among the leading music conductors Zubin Mehta, the list of NRIs and their contribution to the world goes endlessly. 
  • As a Pressure groups: The influential Indian diaspora affects not just the popular attitude, but also government policies in countries where they live, to the benefit of India. India benefits tremendously through these people in luring large multinational companies as well as entrepreneurial ventures. 
  • Agents of change: Diaspora acts as ‘agents of change’ facilitating and enhancing investment, accelerating industrial development, and boosting international trade and tourism. Another tangible long-term advantage in nurturing ties with an active Diaspora is an accelerated technological sector.
  • Soft Power:  The spread of Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian spiritualism, Bollywood, Indian cuisine across the world has made India famous. It has even led to revival of many lost relationships with many countries.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: There are many instances where diaspora has stood up for their Indian kins in times of disaster. Successful diaspora groups are among the largest contributors to the CMDRF. They are invaluable in mobilising resources, talent, and knowledge which will be integral in rebuilding the State. Diaspora communities will also inevitably shape political and economic responses to a disaster. The linking of social capital between diaspora, civil society organisations, advocacy groups and government institutions, although necessary during rehabilitation, is bound to lead to unanticipated and undesirable outcomes.
  • Political power: Many people of Indian origin hold top political positions in many countries, in the US itself they are now a significant part of Republicans and Democrats, as well as the government. The three ministers Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma, and Priti Patel have held top roles in the UK government currently. Let’s not forget Kamala Harris.
  • Stimulate the economy: When they visit India, they tend to spend more lavishly than the locals, thereby helping economic activity. NRIs are more prone to donating to domestic charities because of the strong cultural and emotional feelings that they nurse. They bring technical and domain expertise to domestic startups and often act as angel investors. Diaspora Indian faculty abroad volunteer time and resources to help faculty on Indian campuses improve the quality of education — as in the case of member institutions of the Indo Universal Collaboration of Engineering Education.

Way forward – 

  • Deepening links within existing Diaspora: India needs to court two important, but untapped, segments of the existing Dia-spora: the young, second generation of overseas Indians; and those approaching retirement.
  • Diversify: Currently, Indians migration is concentrated in English-speaking countries for obvious reasons. The EU, Japan, Latin America and Russia should also be targeted over the next few decades. Also, there is greater scope for jobs at all skill levels in global transportation, health and home care. This requires major investments in specific educational services.
  • Increase investment engagement: Diaspora should be treated at par with other Indian citizens, including the right to work, both in the private and public sectors, and the right to buy and sell property to attract talented persons into the public sector.
  • Make them a part of the development process: The government should launch various win-win schemes to make it more attractive for its diaspora to step up participation in India’s development. India should formalise a rotation program wherein top NRI scientists, engineers, doctors, managers and professionals serve Indian public sector organizations for a brief period, lending their expertise. This kind of lateral induction of senior staff can do wonders to both host and contributing personnel as was evidenced by the tenure of Dr. Rajan at the RBI. Many NRIs would be willing to serve for no compensation if living expenses, travel and accommodations are paid for.

The Indian diaspora is the bridge between their nation and India where they can grow simultaneously for betterment of their citizens. With the versatile role of Diaspora, India could fulfil its cherished dream of being a super power and it could make much head way in its international and foreign affairs. The diaspora can provide the requisite strategic impulse, which makes it all the more important to unlock their potential.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Indian Diaspora is India’s asset in disguise. Elaborate with suitable examples

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