Indian diaspora must think beyond remittances: Manmohan | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Indian diaspora must think beyond remittances: Manmohan

delhi Updated: Jan 08, 2010 13:16 IST

Thanking overseas Indians for the remittances to their country of origin that amounted to over $50 billion last fiscal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday also asked them to invest in the opportunities offered by India.

"India is today one of the top investment destinations. Economic opportunities are expanding everywhere," the prime minister told the annual convention for overseas Indians.

"Overseas Indians, however, while being good savers, tend to be somewhat conservative investors. Most remittances are placed in bank deposits. Foreign direct investment in India by overseas Indians is low and far short of potential," he said.

"I would urge overseas Indians to take a careful look at long-term investment opportunities now on the horizon in our country."

Some 1,500 delegates from 50-plus countries are attending the conclave, which the country hosts annually to connect with its 25 million diaspora in 130 countries.

According to the prime minister, Indian industry was rapidly developing a global orientation and many of its companies were transforming themselves into multinational corporations with global brand names.

"As Indian industry steps outward, the Indian diaspora could do more to inter-link Indian industry with global markets. They could reinforce the improving brand image of India," he said.

"I sincerely hope that the newly established Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre will become an effective hub for promoting two-way interaction between the overseas Indian community and our institutions."

Established as a non-profit initiative by the government and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the centre acts as focal point to promoting investments into India, catalysing business partnerships and enable exchange of knowledge.

The prime minister said the rapid growth in the last few years helped lift millions of people out of poverty and expand access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities to a vast majority of the population.

"But this is a work in progress and much more remains to be done. I solicit your assistance to achieve those goals. We wish to accelerate efforts to effectively address key constraints in infrastructure, agriculture, health and education."