Indian embassies asked to maintain greater outreach and develop closer contact with diaspora
NEW DELHI Aug 4: The parliamentary panel on external affairs on Wednesday asked the external affairs ministry (MEA) to make “concerted efforts” to create an authentic database of the Indian diaspora and use it to prepare welfare schemes for overseas Indians. In a report titled “Welfare of Indian Diaspora: Policies/Schemes” submitted to Lok Sabha, the committee on external affairs headed by PP Chaudhary expressed surprise that “authentic data of the Indian diaspora is not available” with the ministry. The Indian diaspora comprises 13 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) spread across the globe and more than 18 million people of Indian origin (PIOs). The committee said it “strongly felt that the ministry may not be able to implement welfare schemes for the said community as well as address the challenges being faced by them effectively in the absence of a comprehensive and up-to-date database”. The committee said Indian embassies and posts abroad “should play a more pro-active role, maintain greater outreach and develop closer contact with the diaspora community and encourage them to register themselves” with missions so that an authentic database is maintained. This can be used as the basis for preparing and implementing welfare schemes for the diaspora. The committee noted that the external affairs ministry launched a project to study data management in other countries to develop a module for migrant workers and students studying overseas. “In [the] committee’s view, an authentic database of migrant workers and overseas students is long overdue as they constitute the most vulnerable section of the Indian diaspora,” the report said, adding that this module should be developed within a specified timeframe. The parliamentary panel also expressed surprise over the lack of a “clear-cut policy” on the Indian diaspora, despite the community “playing a very important role in the socio-economic development of their home country”. It recommended that the external affairs ministry should issue a policy document on the diaspora to serve as a guide for “deeper and wider engagement” with the community with the objective that “all involved in the process of diaspora affairs may work in tandem to achieve the objectives set in this regard”.