The government has decided to merge the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) with the external affairs ministry almost 12 years after the former was set up to improve engagement with the Indian diaspora.
The move aims to address the overlapping in the functions of the two ministries and will hopefully address the various complaints of Indian overseas workers in a more effective manner. The merger would also help by doing away with the duplication of work.
PM Narendra Modi has agreed to a proposal for the merger, which was put forth by Sushma Swaraj, the cabinet minister for both ministries.
“As minister for external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, I realised that substantial work of MOIA is done through our missions abroad. Therefore, I proposed to Prime Minister that MOIA should be merged with ministry of external affairs,” Swaraj said in a tweet.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the decision to merge the two ministries was taken in line with the government’s “overall objective of minimising government and maximising governance”. He said the process of merging the two ministries has already begun and the exercise is being personally supervised by Swaraj.
Since creation of the MOIA in 2004, there have been two separate ministers in charge of the two ministries. However, Swaraj and minister of state in MEA VK Singh have been handling both ministries since 2014, Swarup said.
Established in May 2004 as the ministry of non-resident Indians’ affairs, the ministry was renamed as the ministry of overseas Indian affairs in September 2004.