The Government is actively considering granting of voting rights to
the NRIs in the Gulf. Inaugurating
the 4th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas here today, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that apart from voting
rights, the Government is also considering a number of on-site welfare measures
to improve the efficiency of financial and councilor services to the overseas
Indians and NRIs. These are:
- An easy to use remittance facility that is affordable
and efficient. The Ministry of Overseas
Indian Affairs has partnered with UTI Bank to develop an electronic integrated
remittance gateway which would be launched by the Union Finance Minister
Shri Chidambaram later today.
- The Government will launch a more liberal Pravasi
Bharatiya Bima Yojana with effect from the first of next month to provide
enhanced benefits to workers.
- The Government will work with international and
other agencies to streamline and modernize the process of emigration and
to create awareness among the workers about their rights and obligation.
- The Government will support initiatives to develop
the skills of workers and set up credible mechanisms for certification of
those skills so that over the years we are able to re-position India as
a source of skilled, rather than unskilled labour.
Manmohan Singh said to enable improved connectivity between people of Indian
origin worldwide, we intend to set up a Diaspora Knowledge Network to provide a
dynamic framework within which the users and providers of knowledge can
discover each other and work together.
Minister said that there is an unmet demand for higher education in a number of
countries with a significant diaspora population that can provide one outlet
for our talents here. “In this process,
we should be able to attract other overseas students as well. As India becomes a stronger economic power,
the interest among students all over the world to come and
study in India would increase for the sheer experience of being in the most
happening society in the world”, he added.
Oscar Fernandes, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, speaking on the
occasion, said that India is rapidly emerging on the world firmament to take
its rightful place among the comity of nations. He said, besides being
one of the fastest growing economies, India is also a young nation. He called upon the NRIs to partner in
India’s exciting march to progress and prosperity. Shri Fernandes said there is one virtue that defines the
overseas Indian community, it is their knowledge, expertise and skills across a
wide gamut of sectors. He said, we will
seek to build a bridge between India and the global Indian to transform ideas
into individual initiatives and community action.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, in his address,
said that with the growing outsourcing business both in the manufacturing and
services sectors, India has a very bright future. Acknowledging that India has emerged as the largest recipient of
remittances from non-resident Indians with 21.7 billion dollars, the Chief
Minister said that the country needs inspiration from the success stories of
NRIs in various fields.
on the occasion, the Chief Guest Mr. Ahmed Kathrada, a veteran of South African
liberation struggle, said that the events like the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas will
strengthen the bonds between the Overseas Indians and their motherland. He
recalled the contribution of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the
first ‘pravasi’, who had returned to his homeland from South Africa on January
the Prime Minister presented the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cards to two
NRIs – Ms. Nirvruti Rai and Mr. Iftar Ahmed Sherief. The Prime Minister also released an OCI handbook which explains
the guidelines for getting OCI cards.
The OCI card comprises, a multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa
for visiting India, exemption from registration with local police authority for
any length of stay in India and parity with non-resident Indians in respect of
economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition
of agricultural or plantation properties.
Fernandes released the inaugural issue of “Overseas Indian”, the newsletter of
the Ministry of the Overseas Indian Affairs.
Krishna Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs welcomed the
gathering and Shri Saroj K. Poddar, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry (FICCI) proposed vote of thanks.
1400 delegates, several Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of States are
participating in the three-day event.
(Release ID :14808)