Indian diaspora has never been so important to India’s economic and social development than it is today. With India galloping ahead on the back of strong economic growth enabled by strong push for economic reforms and enhanced ease of doing business, India needs to engage more with its diaspora. Indian diaspora is estimated at around 30 million and concentrated in regions such as the Middle East, United States, Malaysia and South Africa. The top countries with Indian Diaspora population include UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Ireland, Mauritius, United States and South Africa.
India has more than a century old history of migration. Migration is a natural, essential and growing phenomenon and is important for development of global economy and business. According to the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), World Bank there are nearly 250 million international and 750 million internal migrants who put together form nearly a billion people who have moved from their places of origin to other places. Members of Indian Diaspora are presently enjoying a dignified living in many countries while playing an important role to trace and establish connect with their roots in India.
India’s diaspora engagement efforts have helped it to receive foreign exchange remittances well over $60 billion annually, which is a significant contribution of the Indian community to their motherland. Incidentally, India tops the list of source countries for international migrants, with one-in-twenty migrants worldwide born in India. It is important to capture the potential of this large global asset for transformation and progress of India in coming times. Twenty first century belongs to India and therefore, it is important to involve Indian Diaspora as partners in India’s growth and development. It is important to note that the focus of Government of India towards Indian Diaspora has been significantly encouraging in recent years. With a laser sharp focus on engaging with and protecting the interests of its “Pravasis”, Government of India has initiated a slew of schemes targeting Indian diaspora comprising Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), who are seeking to connect with their roots in India and explore new avenues for mutually beneficial interactions, investments, technology and skills transfer, philanthropy and other emerging opportunities in the “New India”.