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World Tamil Diaspora Day |

World Tamil Diaspora Day

Context

∙ Tamils from about 58 countries participated in the two-day World Tamil Diaspora Day celebrations.

About Day

∙ It is organised by the Government of Tamil Nadu .

∙ Tamils who excelled in 8 categories namely Tamil literature, Education, Social Development, Women, Business, Science and Technology, Sports and Medicine were honoured by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Indian Diaspora

∙ Diaspora is a word of Greek origin that means scattering or sowing of seeds.

∙ It is used to refer to people who leave their native lands to live in other parts of the world for employment, business or any other purpose.

∙ Indian Diaspora is a generic term used for addressing people who have migrated from the territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India.

∙ Historical Linkages : The Indian example of migration began in large numbers during the British rule as indentured labourers to former colonies like Fiji, Kenya and Malaysia.

∙ It continued in the post-independence period with Indians from different social strata moving to countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Gulf countries.

ο Composition : ‘Diaspora’ is commonly understood to include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), of which PIO and OCI card holders were merged under one category — OCI — in 2015.

ο Distribution : They are spread more than 140 countries in the world.

∙ The US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Myanmar, the UK, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Canada host an Indian diasporic population of at least one million each.

Importance :

∙ The Indian Diaspora today constitutes an important, and in some respects unique, force in world culture.

∙ The Government of India recognises the importance of Indian Diaspora as it has brought economic, financial, and global benefits to India.

∙ One of the greatest benefits of engaging with the Indian diaspora has been in terms of remittances.

∙ Remittances aid in socio-economic development as it is used for the recipient family’s personal use , in temple building, and for donations to schools

∙ These remittances have played a role in poverty reduction while changing consumption behaviour in rural areas.

∙ Another tangible long-term advantage in nurturing ties with an active diaspora is an accelerated technological sector

∙ India’s permanent membership to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can become a reality with support from the diaspora.

Issues and Concerns:

∙ Support of the diaspora is neither automatic nor continuous, and their interests need not be India’s priorities.

∙ For example, the Indian community in the US was not vocal enough in criticising President Donald Trump’s proposal to restrict the H-1B visa programme that has benefited many Indians.

∙ Remittances may not always be used for beneficial purposes. For instance, India faced problems due to foreign funding for extremist movements like the Khalistan movement

∙ Poor schemes coupled with ineffectual implementation sometimes hinder the diaspora’s contribution towards the growth of India.

Recent Policies:

∙ The government’s initiatives towards the diaspora are two-pronged.

ο For one, they cater to the needs of NRIs and OCIs by providing them with consular services, protection and conduct outreach activities to engage with them.

ο They create policies to encourage the diaspora to contribute to India’s growth through philanthropy, knowledge transfers, investments in innovation and assistance in other development projects.

ο The Know India Programme of the Ministry of External Affairs is a three-week knowledge programme designed for the diaspora youth.The primary objective of the KIP is to foster a closer connection between Indian diaspora youth and their ancestral homeland by augmenting their understanding of India.

ο Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) has been celebrated on 9th January every year since 2003 to mark the contribution of the Overseas Indian community in the development of India.

Future Outlook

∙ Today, there is more potential for the diaspora to contribute to India’s growth story, their success will also be a reflection of the Indian government’s schemes, policies and outreach activities toward them.

∙ The Indian government, while continuing to engage with the diaspora as a part of its foreign policy, will have to be cautious of sensitive issues that may impact the security of the state.

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