Ministry to help overseas Indians find their roots | india | Hindustan Times
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Ministry to help overseas Indians find their roots

india Updated: Aug 12, 2008 00:36 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
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For those overseas Indians who have entirely lost touch with their roots in India, a reunion of sorts is on the cards.

In response to repeated requests — eight this year itself — from people of Indian origin settled in places such as the Caribbean Islands, the government is all set to put in place a mechanism to help these people trace their roots.

These people are descendants of indentured labourers of the 19th century, who settled in the then British colonies and lost all connections other than an emotional bond with India.

Officials from the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs will meet officials from the states of UP and Bihar — the two states from which most indentured labourers were sent — later this month to set the ball rolling. Though UP claims to have already put in place a department, complaints from PIOs have shown it is far from effective.

“As soon as we have UP and Bihar governments on board, we will put an online form on the MOIA website, and also on the websites of crucial Indian missions abroad, inviting applications from those who want to rediscover their roots in India. We will also advertise in local ethnic media abroad,” a government official told the Hindustan Times.

Apart from helping these people, the government also hopes that this will facilitate their investment in their villages.

“A man visiting the village of his ancestors after generations may well offer to open a school or hospital there. This can help complement the government’s infrastructure-building efforts,” the official said.