Based in Ohio, Shreeman Raghavan wants to spend two hours a week to help design a rural user-friendly networking programme to connect drinking water projects in India. Raghavan, who does not even know the engineers involved in the project, plans to e-mail the Indian government. He wants to participate in the diaspora knowledge network — a brainchild of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
“There are many professionals of Indian origin overseas — scientists, physicians, lawyers, engineers and groups such as not-for-profit organisation The Indus Entrepreneurs — who want to do something for their home country. While some can spend time, others can participate physically or online and yet others are willing to spend money as they have no time,” said G Gurucharan, joint secretary of financial services in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
Ministry sources said that “whenever Union Minister Vayalar Ravi met people of Indian origin — overseas or in India — they would express a desire to help but were unwilling to relocate or unable to give time. That’s when Ravi suggested an online framework”.
The electronic platform allows professionals to plug in and provide skills as per their convenience. Those who need the knowledge — state governments, NGOs — can plug in and use it.
Seema Gupta, an immigrant rights lawyer in the US, said: “As my Indian law degree is still valid, not only will I contribute something, I will also be brushing up my skills.” The Centre has identified where the diaspora knowledge network could work, such as rural sanitation, drinking water.