Throw light on the ways through which Indian Diaspora abroad can contribute in India's development. Also discuss the transformation in India's policy towards its Diaspora over the past few years.

Diaspora refers to the people of Indian origin who had migrated to foreign land and their descendents.
Diasporas role in India’s development

  • Remittances: The remittances by the Indian diaspora are of great help in marinating a healthy foreign exchange reserve and current account.
  • Foreign direct investment: The Diaspora can also contribute to the growth of India through enhanced foreign direct investment.
  • Soft power: The Diaspora have aided in enhancing its soft power. During elections in US the presidential candidates reached out to Indian Diaspora and gave firm assurances of protecting interests of India. They also serve as unnamed ambassadors of the country and enhance India’s influence in the region.
  • Social Infrastructure: They respect their roots and are devoting resources for the development of social infrastructure by associating with both governmental and non-governmental organisations. This is aiding in development of the human capital of the country.
  • Boosting growth: Indian growth has got the boost from the IT industry. The Diaspora has contributed immensely from the development of the IT sector. The strong presence of the Indian Diaspora in the Silicon Valley has contributed immensely for the development of the IT industry in the country.
  • Knowledge transfer: The Indian Diaspora is acting as the channel of the knowledge transfer. The government has also initiated programmes like Swayam, Vajraa to effectively utilise the expertise of Indian Diaspora is trickled down into lower strata of the society.
  • Boosting Exports: Enhanced presence of Diaspora in the foreign land has resulted in greater demand for the Indian goods in the foreign land. This has aided in enhancing the exports.

Transformation of government policies with respect to Diaspora

  • The engagement with the Indian Diaspora got a fillip in the post liberalisation era in 1991. Since then every government has been engaging with the Diaspora to make them partners in the Indian growth strategy.
  • In 1998, following the nuclear tests, then government brought out NRI bondsand these were a success thanks to the support of the diasporic community. The Diaspora community stood with the country during the testing times. From then Diaspora are viewed as pillars of strength.
  • To further develop a deep cooperation with the Diaspora the tenure of the UPA 2 India launched the Krishna Doctrine. The diplomats were asked to make a conscious effort to shed elitism, and respond with humility and urgency to the needs of Indian nationals abroad especially those in distress. Indian diplomats were asked to shift course and become more people-oriented.
  • NDA government reoriented the policy towards Indian Diaspora. The government wants to leverage the Indian Diaspora as a foreign policy tool. PM stated that “Every Indian abroad is a diplomat.”
  • India now wants Diaspora not just to represent India’s interests overseas, but also to contribute to India’s economic development by investing back home and contributing to development schemes undertaken by the government. 
  • The government is now pursuing a symbiotic relationship with the Diaspora. Through twitter diplomacy the ministry is reaching out efficiently to Indians in distress at abroad.

The Diaspora has become a policy tool and is adding immensely to the soft power. India with the world’s largest Diaspora is gaining immensely for its development.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Throw light on the ways through which Indian Diaspora abroad can contribute in India’s development. Also discuss the transformation in India’s policy towards its Diaspora over the past few years. {250 words, 15 Marks}

Published: April 28, 2018 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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