New Delhi, Jan 17: Diaspora India Media and Communication (DIMC) organized a high powered panel discussion on the “Role of Indian Diaspora in Nation’s Socio-Economic Development,” at Ambedkar International center, New Delhi.
The event also witnessed the unveiling of the website of the organization www.diasporaindia.com.
The keynote address for the discussion was given by Shri Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (CPV & OIA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India. The panel discussion that followed was chaired by Ashok Sajjanhar, Former Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. The panelists included Professor (Dr.) Kamla Dutt, an Indian American and an accomplished author, Mohammad Haleem Khan, former Secretary, Disinvestment, Government of India, Ambassador Anup Mudgal, Former Indian High Commissioner to Mauritius and Colonel (Retired) Jaibans Singh, a reputed national affairs’ specialist, and an accomplished author.
While terming the Indian Diaspora as a vibrant strength of the nation Shri Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay stressed the need to open communication channels with the community and the creation of an expert base on the subject. “Currently, many Indians who have done very well abroad still do not feel comfortable. Slowly things are picking up, but still more can be done to be much more effective,” he said. “Today evening is very significant that we are moving in the right direction. I’m really delighted to be part of this journey,” added Mulay.
Professor Kamla Dutt said that India is respected for its non-aggressive and holistic approach to life by any country hosting Indians. It is this quality which puts Indians in high credentials against any other country especially Chinese, Russians or British. Our spiritual face is key to the world to live in peace and togetherness. We should stress on these as Indian Diaspora is more connected to roots on the social value systems and spirituality of India.
Md. Haleem Khan, Former Secretary to the Government of India stressed the need to brings few practical supports and benefits to the Indian Diaspora community so that they feel more connected to the country. One time engagement in a year is not sufficient. Highlighting the economic potential of the Diaspora Khan said that India continues to be the world’s top recipient of remittances from its Diaspora, gathering close 72 billion dollars in 2017-18, as opposed to USD 3 billion in 1991. He said that it is a matter of pride and significance that FDI inflows into India can be expected to cross the USD 80 billion mark in fiscal 2018-19.
Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar presented a global view of the Diaspora community and appreciated the contributions of Indian Diaspora especially from the Gulf region and African region. Mr. Sajjanhar observed that significant pie of remittance is contributed by those who are working in the blue collar jobs and not by white collar jobs. India has to build higher credibility, trust and continued engagement for serious partnership with the developed regions' Indian Diaspora, he said. “The role and participation of the Indian Diaspora have become more significant now than ever before. Prime Minister Modi has, on his many visits abroad, to countries like the United States, Canada, and the Gulf region etc., be able to enthuse the Indian Diaspora abroad like never before. This has created space for India at the high table at all global for a,” he added. He also said engagement with the Diaspora should not be limited to economics alone but should be broadened further to include other areas such as culture, sports, literature and the like.
Shri Anup Mudgal said, “India has, over time, realized the importance of the Diaspora and set in motion in the last three to four years, several initiatives for closer engagement between them and India’s own developmental process.” He particularly laid stress on engagement with Indian origin youth living abroad, and particularly the student community, which he opined constitutes a significant component of global Diaspora.
Colonel (retired) Jaibans Singh said his interest in the Indian Diaspora is derived from the fact that 60 percent of his large family is settled in countries across the globe.
He stressed upon the need to look into the social and emotional aspects concerning NRI/PIO's. "We need to realize that within our country there are a large number of aged mothers of immigrants, who are in various stages of depression. They have the money, build huge homes, spend as if there is no tomorrow, but feel socially isolated. This situation has a severe effect on their children living abroad." Colonel Singh further opined that one reason behind the Diaspora reluctance to invest in India is their perception that Indians are not hardworking or honest enough to put their money on. So, they prefer to make large houses but won’t spend on business ventures.
Elaborating about the DIMC’s role in the nation’s socio-economic development Pooran Chandra Pandey, Founding Chairman, DIMC said that DIMC will lay priority on hardcore research, evidence digging; reaching out to Indian Diaspora families in India and acting as a credible bridge between the Diaspora and the Government of India.
Shri Onkareshwar Pandey, Founder trustee of DIMC and a senior journalist gave an overview of DIMC, an organization that came into existence in 2013 with the sole aim to become the voice and supporting the hand of Indian Diaspora and to provide them all possible required support and recognition in India. “In the last five years, DIMC has worked on the ground, started creating its ground network and has established a presence in 20 states of the country. We plan to cover the entire country, including at the district levels by the end of this year,” Pandey added.
A book titled “Achhi Auratein Aur Anya Kahaniyan” authored by Dr. Kamla Dutt was also released on the occasion and a film on the life and history of the Indian Diaspora in Mauritius, made by IGNOU, was screened. Dr. Daljeet Sachdeva, Deputy Director, IGNOU, and director of this film, gave a brief introduction to the film.