Opinion of Dr. Neha Sinha, Assistant Professor at Amity University, Noida
With the increasing pace of globalization and economic liberalization, rapid changes are taking place all over the world, due to which large-scale changes and social changes have taken place. Along with the transfer of knowledge and skills, there is an increase in the flow of money investments and remittances to the country. In the process, the Indian diaspora has emerged as a group that is not only emotionally and culturally connected to India but is also contributing significantly to the economic development of the country.
India today has the second largest diaspora in the world, with an estimated migrant population of about thirty-one million (of whom 17 million are of Indian origin, 13 million NRIs, spread across 146 countries in the world).
Diaspora is spread all over the world whose ancestral roots can be traced to merchants, indentured laborers, political exiles, business entrepreneurs, etc. (In India, diaspora is generally understood to include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), of whom PIOs and OCI card holders were excluded from the year 2015. was merged into one category – OCI – in the
Away from their homes, our indentured brothers and sisters have suffered many kinds of physical and mental torture for a long time. They made difficult, painful, and long journeys in ships, but despite all these hardships and challenges, the contribution of these migrants to the development of the country in nation-building is remarkable.
The Indian diaspora has helped create a good image of India across the globe and has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians and India. He has raised a new wave of praise for such a country India, from where many achievers have been born and have made their mark abroad. The standards of success set by the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas community are a source of inspiration for us in India.
The Indian diaspora plays a very important role in the development of India at political, social, economic, and cultural levels. The Indian diaspora is not only not satisfied with tried and tested professions; Many of them have made a new identity in the field of politics, government, and diplomacy. In several countries such as Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, and Tobago, and Portugal, people of Indian origin have become heads of government.
The Indian diaspora has kept alive the tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Apart from this, the Indian diaspora acts as a link between the host country and the home country and is responsible for maintaining cordial relations between the two countries at all levels.
India’s rich cultural heritage is being maintained in foreign lands and we see them doing so successfully in many countries. Apart from this, the remittances sent by overseas Indians to the country are a significant contribution to the economic development of our country.
Also, to contribute at the societal level, the Indian diaspora across the world has started various forums, organizations, and institutions abroad that protect the rich Indian culture and the interests of Indians.
The opportunities that the Indian diaspora brings to India are as follows-
According to the Global Migration Report 2020, India is the largest country of origin of international migrants, with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora worldwide, and received the highest remittances from Indians living abroad, about Rs 6.5 lakh crore, to India Which is 3.4% of India’s GDP. The US remained the largest source, accounting for more than 20% of total remittances to India in 2021, at $87 billion. In fact, Indians account for 13% of the total remittances in the world.
Moreover, the Indian diaspora not only played a historic role in freeing India from colonialism, but they were also instrumental in upholding the values of the country internationally through their enormous success stories. The Indian diaspora is an important part of India’s “soft diplomacy” or “diaspora diplomacy”. The potential of the Indian diaspora to spread Indian soft power, advocate India’s national interests and contribute economically to India’s rise has been well recognized.
Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle to end systemic prejudice against Indians in South Africa has, in contemporary India, inspired legends about the Indian diaspora. As the freedom struggle gained momentum within the country, it began to have an impact on many Indian communities abroad.
Diasporas act as ‘agents of change’ in facilitating and increasing investment, accelerating industrial development, and promoting international trade and tourism.
With an active diaspora, there is another, tangible long-term benefit in nurturing ties, ‘a booming tech sector. The Indian community has played an important role in the field of science and technology.
Another important advantage of having a large emigrant group is “diaspora diplomacy”, and they act as “bridge-builders” between their home country and adopted countries. The ‘India-US civil nuclear deal’ is an example of this, as ethnic Indians in the United States successfully lobbied for the “end of the N-deal”.
They act as an important link between India and the rest of the world to access knowledge, expertise, resources, and markets. Also, they are an important source of trade and investment in India. They have also contributed to the progress and development of their country of residence, for example, Silicon Valley represents the success of Indians.
The source of a large inflow of remittances, which have been helping to balance the current account, has also been helpful in further enhancing socio-economic development and reducing poverty. According to the World Bank, the Indian diaspora is currently the largest earner of remittances in the world.
Extension of experiences and experiences:
They extend Indian culture and traditions such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian cuisine, etc. for the benefit of the country.
NRIs also provide financial assistance to educational institutions or businesses, which helps in strengthening the sectors of the economy. Reports suggest that these NRIs are a major source of foreign direct investment, development of markets (outsourcing), and technology transfer, boosting the wealth of the fiscal system every day. It is more so in the fields of culture, education, economic development and health, and the arts.
Indians are pioneers in areas like information technology and contribute in a big way. Above all, persons of Indian origin can help India by investing in Indian industry and infrastructure, to stimulate India’s economic development. Even though the contribution of NRI is not visible directly, they are helping their country through various activities in India.
Several reports suggest that NRIs are major sources of foreign direct investment, market development (outsourcing), technology transfer, charity, tourism, political contributions, and a substantial flow of knowledge into India. NRIs have come forward to help in educational and social projects related to development with many NGOs in India.
It is observed that a large number of NRIs are actively participating in various welfare programs in India. He has registered many non-governmental organizations to promote education, health, and development-related activities like water management, rural development, and self-help programs, etc. They are also helping to deal with social and environmental problems in India.
The Indian diaspora has also emerged as an important factor in India’s foreign policy, economic development, and knowledge transfer.
The Indian diaspora has contributed immensely to strengthening the cultural and literary aspects of India. In order to recognize the contribution of these overseas Indians in the development of India and to connect the young diaspora with their ancestral roots, several flagship programs have been launched by the Government of India. Prominent among them are the ‘Know India Programme’, ‘Know India – Quiz’, and the Scholarship Program for Overseas Children.
In the face of adversity, the Government of India successfully evacuated over 90,000 overseas Indians, including foreign nationals from about 45 countries, from war-torn countries under the ‘Relief’ and ‘Sankat Mochan’ programs. These programs assured the overseas Indian community that wherever they are, the Government of India is always on the frontline to help them if they face any problems.
There are many other flagship programs launched by the Government of India, where NRIs can actively participate and become an integral part of India’s growth story. Just as the diaspora is contributing to business and investment, others are also being inspired to spend their valuable time and effort in India to volunteer, help the underprivileged or contribute to capacity-building programs in various sectors. Huh.
There are many more diverse opportunities to contribute to India and be a part of its exciting growth story. Be it “Make in India”, “Startup India”, “Digital India” or “Clean India”; All these programs provide ample opportunities for them to participate and help in building New India.
Expatriates are the pride of their country and represent their country at the international level. The potential of the Indian diaspora to spread Indian soft power, advocate India’s national interests and contribute economically to the upliftment of their home country, India, is now well recognized.
Today, there is no part of the foreign land that is not inhabited by Indians and does not shine with the marks and influences of our multi-layered culture. We are proud of our rich diaspora, spread across several countries and continents, who stand out for embracing their unique identities and showcasing their innate potential.
This is the time when we all should appreciate the Indian Diaspora living in different parts of the world for the best work done by them in their respective fields. It is time, we all should acknowledge the potential of our diaspora and move ahead in a constructive manner due to which India’s name, fame, and development become supreme as compared to other countries in the world. The 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas conclave witnessed 3,500 diaspora members from nearly 70 different countries.
Author: Dr. Neha Sinha, Assistant Professor at Amity University, Noida