(GIST OF YOJANA) Indian Diaspora: Major Issues and Challenges

(GIST OF YOJANA) Indian Diaspora: Major Issues and Challenges


Indian Diaspora: Major Issues and Challenges


  • People leave their homeland, some to follow their dreams, some run from war and hunger and some lured by the sense of adventure. On any case, leaving homeland and going abroad is a huge step and a life-changing experience. Migrants just don’t leave behind their possessions but also leave behind their friends, family, social circle and personal identity. It is often conveyed that going abroad will improve one’s lifestyle and their significant others. Overseas life is mostly considered easy to settle and prosper without any hardships in India. All luxury is invariably linked to those who have gone abroad. But this is far different from reality. 
  • However, there is no doubt that countries like Canada and the US are considered as the land of opportunities with a lot of promise. However, reality hits hard when a newcomer from India places a foot on foreign land. Language, education and common social behaviour that we took for granted are all up for recalibration.

Major Steps taken by the Indian Government to Handle the Issues of Diaspora:

  • An online database of emigrants and comprehensive, Missions, Recruiting Agents, Foreign Employers, Insurance Agencies to make the whole emigration process faster and transparent, that allows online authentication/verification of credentials of all the stakeholders.
  • Indian Government has signed MoU with six Gulf countries, Jordan and Malaysia. The major intent is to enhance bilateral cooperation and employment opportunities in the protection and welfare of workers.
  • Government has also started ‘Madad’ portal for online lodging of the grievances of the emigrants, which are attended to on priority basis.
  • The government recently amended the rules of the PIO Card Scheme so that new recipients of PIO cards will receive cards that will be valid for the duration of their life.
  • New Embassies in Latin America and African country to help the Diaspora.
  • Bilateral engagement with US, UK to address the concern of skilled labour.
  • Programmes like “Bharat Ko Janiye” to help the Indians living abroad learn about India and also an opportunity to visit India.
  • The Indian Diaspora is very varied and diverse and this rich diversity can help mutually both the countries, and hence a closer tie within is needed.

Significance and Contribution:

  • It helps the transfer of knowledge resources expertise and also bridges the markets for the development of the country of origin and the rest of the world.
  • The soft diplomacy—a vital role played by the Indian Diaspora—is critical in the success of the Indo- US nuclear deal.
  • The country of their residence also has developed due to this Diaspora. Silicon Valley, for example, represents the success of the Indians in the US.
  • The development of Science and Technology is mostly due to the role played by the Indian Diaspora.
  • The Diaspora is the major source of trade investment in India.
  • The world bank predicts Indian diaspora to be the largest contributor and earner of inflows of remittances which is helping the balance of the Current accounts.

Government Initiatives:

  • The “Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas” is an initiative started by the Government in 2003 to mark the contribution of the Indian community overseas in the development of India.
  • Issues faced by Indian Diaspora:

West Asia

  • Low oil prices owing to Shale gas boom and slower global growth is resulting in job cuts for Indians.
  • One of the most direct threats to the security of Indians is the rising conflicts and instability due to the Shia-Sunni conflicts and the radical Islamism.
  • Fierce competition from skilled labour from the Philippines and cheap labour from Nepal.
  • Regressive and medieval policies like employer seizing the travel documents upon arrival known as “Kafala” labour system are exploitative. 

US, Canada & UK

  • Discriminative practices owing to a racist, colonial mindset persists.
  • Stricter H-1B visa norms in the US Congress.
  • President-elect Donald Trump’s call to channel more jobs to Americans.
  • Revision of visa norms in UK post-Brexit might hit the Indian diaspora hard, especially the IT professionals.
  • The disparity in jobs and racial abuse due to terrorist branding.
  • Cultural integration due to various eating preferences, consumerism and nuclear society.

Dual Citizenship:

  • Majority of Indian diaspora want to retain their Indian citizenship along with the citizenship of the country of their residence.

Way forward:

  • The already affected migrants and diaspora need to be ensured to feel welcomed back home on arrival and there needs to be an easier process of immigration and customs clearances.
  • The Government needs to address the problems of blue-collar workers working overseas like:
  • Negotiating a Standard Labour Export Agreements with the host countries.
  • Monitoring and supervision of our overseas workers by our Missions.
  • Compulsory insurance schemes covering the risks faced by our overseas workers.
  • There should be a greater focus on promoting tourism among 2nd generation PIOs and frequency of these PIO’s to make frequent visits to their home state and visit relatives and family.
  • The welfare of Indian Women married to NRIs/PIOs.

Economic Development.

  • Diasporic professionals working in senior positions in the manufacturing industry can help promote India as an important destination for outsourcing.
  • The government should also consider setting up of Special Economic Zones, exclusively for projects to be set up by NRIs/PIOs.
  • The Government should consider issuing special infrastructure bonds for attracting NRI/PIO investments on the lines of the Israel Bonds.
  • The diaspora’s financial and intellectual capital must be cashed by India and the major challenge before India is how it can tap this for mutual benefit.



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Courtesy: Yojana