The Prime Minister opened the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Tuesday, wooing the overseas Indian with a slew of proposals that would connect him better to his homeland.
"Even though Delhi is cold right now, I assure our
that a warm welcome awaits you in this land of our ancestors," Manmohan Singh told his audience of 1,500-odd overseas Indians from 50 countries who had gathered at Vigyan Bhawan.
He outlined the Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin — a platform where the best minds of the Indian diaspora would come together. "The council would serve as a high-level platform for the Prime Minister to draw upon the experience and knowledge of the best Indian minds wherever they may be based," he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the government's proposal of an India Development Foundation. This autonomous non-profit trust would serve as an institutional mechanism to divert the overseas Indians' philanthropic contributions into human development back home.
The government, Singh said, has also decided to set up a "Council of Overseas Employment" to serve as a strategic think tank.
The Centre has before it a proposal to establish a university for persons of Indian origin that Singh said had been approved. A final decision was expected soon.
He announced the launch of the Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) — a forum to provide information and assistance to potential migrant workers and operate a multi-lingual helpline for grievance redress and intervention for workers in distress away from home. "The Indian diaspora is a pluralistic community just as India is, and the security and welfare of Indian residents living abroad is a top priority of our diplomatic missions," Singh said.
He did not forget to thank the Indian community in the US for its efforts in mobilising support for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. "I wish to record our special gratitude to the Indian community in the USA for the efforts made by them in mobilising support of the political leadership in that country for Indo-US cooperation in civil nuclear energy," he said, before moving on to the country's robust economy.
The conditions were favourable to achieve and sustain a 9 to 10 per cent growth rate, which would enable India to emerge as a major powerhouse in the globalised world, Singh told the delegates.
Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the chief guest, encouraged overseas Indians to tap the "vibrancy, vitality and confidence" that is "palpable to everyone visiting India". "My plea to the Indian diaspora is to grab this opportunity.... We owe it to this country," he said.