Indian Diaspora Make the Country Proud Through the Significant Contributions That They have Made to the Development of Their Adopted Nations
The Indian Diaspora has made the country proud through the significant contributions that they have made to the development of the nations which they have chosen to make their homes.
Delivering the valedictory address at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, President Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that it is a matter of pride that there are at least 5 Heads of States and over 70 senior political leaders such as Deputy Heads of State, Speakers and Ministers in various countries who can trace their roots to India. Highlighting the Indian Economy, Shri Mukherjee said that India is the third largest economy in the world on the basis of Purchasing Power Parity basis. It too is the second fastest growing economy after China. It has managed to grow at a rate above 8 per cent. Due to the slowdown in the global economy and other factors, the growth rates have declined, from 8.4 per cent in 2010-11 to 6.5 per cent in 2011-12, and further to 5.4 per cent in the first half of 2012-13. He expressed hope the economic growth back to the level of 8 to 9 per cent. He called upon NRI’s to invest in India. He said that a revival of the high investment rate in the country is a must for the economy to regain its 8 per cent plus growth levels. Indian Diaspora could help in the process by investing in Indian companies and establishing new ventures.
Shri. Mukherjee said that the Indian capital market for Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) was opened for investment. Initially, QFIs were permitted to invest in Indian Mutual Funds and on 1st January 2012, in a far-reaching decision, doors for equities were opened them to directly invest in India. The Corporate Bond market was also opened to QFIs. India has also set up a friendly regime to enable Indians abroad to remit money to the country. NRIs can deposit money in the country under the Non Resident External Rupee account scheme, Non Resident Ordinary Rupee account scheme and Foreign Currency Non Resident account Banks scheme. These schemes have been welcomed by the Diaspora that they had deposited close to $67 billion at the end of October 2012. The net private transfers from abroad during the first half of 2012-13 was close to $33 billion. These figures bear testimony to the fact that Indians abroad find it both emotionally and financially fulfilling to invest in India especially in view of the sound economic fundamentals of the country. He added that Non Resident Keralites have been important agents in the State’s promotion of sustainable development and socio-economic transformation. According to a study published by the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvunanthapuram, in 2011, approximately Rs. 49, 695 crore was remitted by emigrants from Kerala.
Addressing on the occasion, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Shri Vayalar Ravi said that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has over the years, grown not only in size but also in its contents. Meeting under the overall theme of “Engaging Diaspora-the Indian Growth Story” this year a wide-ranging and interesting discussions were held in various sessions such as the Seminar on NRIs in the Gulf; on Skill Development; on Heritage and Diaspora; on engaging the young Overseas Indians; on India’s Growing Soft Power; and, on Science, Innovation and Technology. On the occasion of the centenary year of the Ghadar movement, a stamp was released by the Prime Minister.
Highlighting the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Ravi said that the Ministry host Regional PBDs in different parts of the world to reach out to Indian Diaspora. The last Regional PBD was organized in Mauritius successfully. The India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), a not-for-profit trust provides the Overseas Indian community a credible institutional avenue to engage in philanthropy and social entrepreneurship in India. The Representation of People Act and the Rules were amended to give right to vote to NRIs. Under Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana, the Indian migrant worker gets triple benefits of life insurance, of a pension and, of a lump-sum for rehabilitation when he or she returns to India. The Ministry has made attestation by our Missions compulsory to ensure protection for women migrants and unskilled workers abroad. It was also enforced age restriction of 30 years in respect of all women emigrants emigrating on ECR passports to ECR countries irrespective of the nature/category of employment.
He further added that the Ministry has set up 24×7 help lines for emigrant workers for both their queries and their complaints. One such Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) in Dubai. The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) established has been a great success. The Fund meets contingency expenditure in respect of Indian workers in distress, including shelters, legal expenses, and boarding. India has further expanded the scope of this fund recently. The Ministry has signed 16 Social Security Agreements. These agreements help mobility of detached workers to these countries since there is no need to pay social security twice. They can obtain pensions wherever they are located. The Bilateral Memoranda of Understanding on Labour with UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia and Bahrain were also has been signed. These MOUs allow us to effectively interact with host countries to quickly solve the problems of Indian workers there.
The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to thirteen eminent overseas Indians from different walks of life and two overseas Indian Societies, which include, Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag from Mauritius, Australia India Society of Victoria from Australia, Prof. Dr. Gursharan Singh Chhatwal from Germany, Mr. Ashok Shambhomal Vaswani from Guinea, Indian Doctors Forum from Kuwait, Tan Sri Ravindran Menon from Malaysia, Dr. Rasik Vihari Joshi from Mexico, Dr. Satendra Kumar Singh from New Zealand, Mr. Gilbert Canabady Moutien from Reunion Island, Mr. Mohammed Rabeeh Karuvanthodi from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ismail Ebrahim Ebrahim from South Africa, Mr. Bava Pandalingal from UAE, Ms. Patricia Maria Rozario from UK, Dr. Narendra Ramakrishna Kumar from USA and Mr. Subash Razdan from USA.
Around 2000 delegates took part in the 11th PBD-2013. President of Mauritius, Shri Rajkeshwur Purryag, Governer of Kerala, Shri H.R Bhardwaj, Minister of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Prof. K. V Thomas, Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri. E. Ahmed, Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Oommen Chandy, and Shri Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, MOIA were also present on the occasion.
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