Indian diaspora dramatically changed India’s perception across world: Swaraj

Varanasi: Lauding the contribution of the Indian community worldwide, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that the community dramatically changed India’s perception across the world while ensuring that the country’s global stature keeps on rising.

She noted that while the Indian diaspora started migrating centuries ago, it is the migration of the educated, highly skilled and dynamic young Indians that has brought laurels to India.

“Today, many of the multi-national corporations are headed by young Indian origin CEOs. Whether it is Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ajay Banga of Mastercard, or Geeta Gopinath of IMF – it is indisputable that Indians are leading the world today. Our diaspora has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians, and of India as well,” Swaraj said at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas here.

“Today, we have people of Indian origin, as heads of the state and heads of the government, and as heads of large multi-national corporations, raising India’s global profile,” she added.

Talking about the steps taken by the government to address the grievances of the Indian community, Swaraj said that there is an ‘Indian Community welfare fund’ for carrying out welfare activities for distressed overseas Indians.

The government has made online registration of foreign employers mandatory in 2015 to streamline overseas recruitment procedures and introduce safeguards into the migration cycle, Swaraj said.

“Grievances, complaints and petitions of the Indian migrant workers are being addressed online through e-Migrate and MADAD. We are taking strict action against illegal and fraudulent recruitment agents, who are cheating Indian workers seeking overseas employment,” she stressed.

Swaraj underscored that the External Affairs Ministry has been actively using digital platforms and social media to actively enhance its outreach to the Indian diaspora.

“Today we are present on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Google+, Soundcloud and Flick as well as Linkedln.

We are disseminating real-time information about our bilateral and international relations and official engagements, and creating awareness and understanding about India’s foreign policy issues through the use of social media. We are using various other tools like Podcasts and digital magazine to enhance our access to the diaspora youth,” Swaraj elaborated.

The External Affairs Minister further said that the government has also increased the scope for the NRIs and OCI (Overseas Citizens of India ) cardholders to conduct better research in Indian institutions and universities.

Swaraj said that education sector in India has become very lucrative for the Indian community to pursue higher education, adding that the country is home to some of the best world-class university infrastructures and R&D (Research and Development) capacities such as IITs and IIMs.

“Along with high-quality education, we want India to be a hub for high-end Research and Development capacities. We have started various programmes such as VAJRA, GIAN and Mission Shodh Ganga to enable the overseas scientific community to conduct high-end research and development in India,” Swaraj said.

She noted that the government’s aim is not to just export ‘manpower’ to the world, but to export ‘skills’. She added that exporting ‘skilled’ manpower will not only garner a better image for India on the global space but will also lead to better salaries and better remittances, thus raising India’s GDP further.

Swaraj further said that in the last four-and-half years, the central government done away lots of rules and regulations and further opened up India’s investment regime. “We consider you as members of our extended family and overseas Indians have been assigned a special place in the action agenda prepared for India’s development till 2020 by NITI Aayog,” she added.

Naming the various developmental projects such as The Smart Cities Mission, Digital India, Skill India, Start-Up India and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Swaraj invited the Indian community to not only invest in these projects but also their ideas.

“We want you to partner with us to realise that dream. We invite you not only to share our vision of new India but also to help us shape her contours. We not only want your investment but also your ideas. We can gain from the skills and expertise of each other,” the External Affairs Minister added.