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Indians Abroad: History, Spread, Remittances

What is Meant by Indian Diaspora?

  • Indian Diaspora is a term that collectively refers to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).
  • According to the World Migration Report, India has the largest emigrant population in the world, making it the top origin country globally, followed by Mexico, Russian and China.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

What is Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)?

  • Convention: It is an event celebrated in India to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
    • It is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry and other organisations.
    • It is celebrated once every two years.
  • History: A High-Level Committee on Indian Diaspora had recommended in 2002 that the Government must renew and strengthen linkages of overseas Indians to their place of origin, and with each other.
    • The idea of a day to have the Government recognise the community flowed from this and was held in 2003.
    • January 9th was selected as it was the date when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915.
    • Over the years, Mahatma Gandhi has often been described as the first non-resident Indian.
  • Significance: It provides an important platform to engage and connect with overseas Indians and enable the diaspora to interact with each other.
    • PBD has contributed to the growth of India’s economy by attracting foreign investment and promoting the export of Indian goods and services.
    • It has also helped to create jobs and stimulate economic activity in India, by encouraging the return of skilled Indian workers and entrepreneurs.
    • PBD has helped to promote the transfer of knowledge, technology, and expertise between India and the global Indian diaspora, which has contributed to the overall development of the Indian economy.
    • PBD is an opportunity for the government to showcase the progress and development of the country to the global Indian community.
    • It is a way to showcase the achievements and potential of India as a nation and to highlight the opportunities that are available for Indians living abroad to invest, work, and study in India.

17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  • The PM of India inaugurated the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Postal Stamp: A Commemorative Postal Stamp ‘Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen’ was also released to underline the importance of safe, legal, orderly and skilled migration.
  • PBD Exhibition: To highlight the contribution of Indian diaspora freedom fighters in India’s Independence, the first-ever digital PBD Exhibition on the theme ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – Contribution of Diaspora in Indian Freedom Struggle’ was inaugurated.
  • Theme: The theme of this PBD Convention is ‘Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal’.
  • India’s Vision: The feeling of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat was underlined.
    • It was stated that India’s unique global vision and its role in the global order will be strengthened by them.
  • 150th Year: In 19th and 20th centuries, Indians were shipped to work on plantations in British colonies, which were reeling under a labour crisis due to the abolition of slavery in 1833-34.
    • 2023 marks the 150th year of the first such journey of Indians to Surinam.

Significance of Indian Diaspora

  • Economic Contribution: Remittances are a vital source of household income for low- and middle-income countries like India. They aid in socioeconomic development and poverty reduction.
    • As per the World Bank Migration and Development Brief 2022, for the first time a single country, India, is on track to receive more than $100 billion in yearly remittances.
    • Remittances to India amount to approximately 3.2% of the Indian GDP.
  • Strategic Asset: The Indian diaspora plays the role of facilitator in globalising Indian trade/export through their global network and bringing investment across many small cities of the country.
  • Representation: Diasporas are symbols of a nation’s pride and represent their country internationally. They help in building a country’s value internationally through their huge success stories.
    • The vocal political positions taken by a section of the Indian diaspora, particularly in the US and the UK, is an important example of the same.
    • Indian Diaspora is an important part of India’s “soft diplomacy” or “diaspora diplomacy”.
  • Expertise: They serve as an important ‘bridge’ to access knowledge, expertise, resources and markets for the development of the country of origin with the rest of the world.
    • The dominance of Indians in computer software, particularly in Silicon Valley, has strengthened the image of India as a technology powerhouse and a source of quality human resources.
  • Development: With a focus on ‘Make in India’, the Indian diaspora can be facilitated to contribute to the Indian development story by investing in greenfield and brownfield projects and portfolio investments in India.
    • The Indian diaspora is expected to guide the policy-makers in the field of the Artificial Intelligence-driven industry which will create high-value jobs.
  • Healthcare: The Indian Diaspora is actively involved in the development of healthcare in India, and there is enormous potential for increasing this cooperation.

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what is Indian Diaspora?

Indian Diaspora is a term that collectively refers to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

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