New Delhi: Expressing desire to benefit from the skill reservoir of overseas Indians, Manmohan Singh, prime minister, called upon them to be active partners in India’s progress and prosperity.
Several new initiatives were announced by the PM, among them the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin as a platform to draw upon the knowledge and experience of PIOs. The PIO University announced last year is in the final stages, while the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre has been set up in partnership with CII. An India Development Foundation will channelize PIO funds into human development in the coming months.
Lauding the role of overseas Indian workers, numbering five million and remitting half of all transfers in 2006, he launched the Overseas Workers Resource Centre helpline, a toll-free number that will provide assistance and grievance redressal to workers abroad.
A nationwide skill upgradation programme will skill two lakh workers for overseas jobs and the Council for Promotion of Overseas Employment has also been approved.
Elaborating on the ‘Indian-ness’ which is the invisible thread that binds all Indians, he touched a chord with the gathering, many of whom were NRIs. He said that India’s cultural values of pluralism, tolerance, and truth and non-violence can be of global relevance in a troubled world.
“India has been inspired by the diaspora in focusing on education as an instrument of empowerment in the 11th Five Year Plan. It is by investing in your capabilities that you have empowered yourselves. This is how I wish to see India empower itself,” he added.
Navichandra Ramgoolam, prime minister of Mauritius, suggested that an active desk be set up by India to channel the solidarity of overseas Indians and give concrete expression to their engagement.
More than 1500 delegates from over 50 countries were participating in the three-day event. Ministry spokesperson confirmed that aA wider range of benefits would be extended to Overseas Citizen of India cardholders, numbering about two lakhs; bilateral security agreements for short-term workers were being negotiated with several EU countries and an MoU was being inked with Gulf countries for workers’ protection and welfare.
Social development would be the focus of the current Pravasi Bharti Diwas, aligning with the priorities of the 11th Five Year Plan.
6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, is being jointly organized by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and CII in New Delhi from 7-9 Jan ‘08