Strengthening Overseas Indian Community Engagement
Proud of the contributions made by overseas Indians to the development of India, the Government of India has taken several steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians abroad.
Indian Missions and Posts abroad are dedicated to the overall welfare including ensuring the safety and security of Indians abroad. India has 202 Missions functioning for the welfare and redressal of the grievances of Indian citizens abroad.
The Government of India recognises the importance of the Indian Diaspora as it has brought economic, financial, technological and global benefits to India. Today, ‘diaspora’ is commonly understood to include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), who are citizens of India and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), including Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), who are foreign nationals.
PIO and OCI cardholders have been merged under one category OCI in 2015. India has a large diaspora in the world with over 32 million including over 13 million NRIs and 18 million PIOs spread across the globe, as on December 25, 2021.
The Indian diaspora is known for their talent, exemplary discipline and hard work, and they have made significant contributions to science, technology, music, literature, politics and business.
Indian Missions and Posts are readily accessible to all Indian citizens within their jurisdiction and maintain close contact with the Indian community. There is a designated nodal officer in each Mission and Post to deal with emergency situations. In key Missions and Posts, a 24×7 Helpline has been established. A dedicated Community Welfare Wing has also been established in Missions and Posts where there is a sizable Indian community.
Indian nationals residing abroad are advised to register with the nearest Indian Mission or Post. Some other steps to ensure the overall safety and security of NRIs are as follows:
● The Indian Government organizes awareness workshops on safe and legal migration for the welfare of our workers and to generate awareness among them. A Pre-Departure Orientation Training (PDOT) is imparted to the workers before they migrate to foreign countries.
● A PDOT manual for prospective emigrants has been prepared, including its translation into regional languages. Online PDOT has also been launched to reach out to women and prospective migrants from remote areas.
● To facilitate the return of Indian nationals stranded in various countries due to restrictions imposed in the wake of the pandemic, the Vande Bharat Mission was started on May 07, 2020. During COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Missions/Posts proactively helped distressed/stranded Indian nationals by providing them food, shelter, and medicine and also facilitating their return back to India.
● Some other initiatives like MADAD Portal, Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), E-migrate Portal, Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK), Rishta Portal, etc. help NRIs to get assistance and address their grievances and ensure their safety and security.
● Grievances are also registered and responded to through various channels like calls, walk-ins, e-mails, Twitter, Whatsapp, 24 x 7 Helpline and other Social Media accounts of Missions/Posts
● To harness the energy and ideas of the Indian diaspora and connect them to India’s youthful demographic success story, various initiatives have been taken up by the Government of India. These include Know India Programme (KIP) – aimed to expose India’s young diaspora to various aspects of contemporary India and its vibrant art, heritage and culture; the scholarship programme GIAN (Global Initiative for Academic Network), the VAJRA Faculty Scheme which aims to bring a strong international connect to the R&D ecosystem of India, the Mission Shodh GANGA (Global Alliance for New Generation Acceleration), Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC), Ramanujan Fellowship, Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC).