By Dr. Gyan Pathak
At conclusion of the 17th three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention (January 8-10) at Indore on Tuesday, majority of 3,500 participants from 70 countries have been dispersing with enthusiasm and hope that Indian diaspora has a greater role to play not only to India’s journey ahead during the Amrit Kaal (2022-2047), but also in their host countries in the present context of economic development.
When the world is undergoing an economic downturn in 2023, and about a third of the countries are likely to fall in recession, there is no denying the fact that Indian skilled workforce has greater role to play to bring the global economy back on track with increased productivity in their host countries as well as contributing more in India’s kitty in foreign remittances. India has been already been the world’s top beneficiary of the remittance fund, and further swelling of funds may further smooth its path of economic growth with its ‘fastest growing economy of the world’ tag.
Thus, the theme of this year’s convention “Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal” is self-explanatory. Since 2015, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is being organised once every two years in place of every year on January 9 commemorating the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India in 1915. Modi government’s priority for Indian diaspora has been perceived weakened on account of this revised format, however, this despair seemed waning this year.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the celebration and released a commemorative postal stamp “Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen” and also the first-ever digital PBD Exhibition on the theme “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – Contribution of Diaspora in Indian Freedom Struggle” that set the tone to a higher pitch this year, especially at a time when India has just completed 75 years of its independence in 2022.
Modi government had already declared the next 25 years from August 15, 2022 to 2047, as Amrit Kaal, and in this way we are in the first year of it, which made the 17th PBD something special. The past glorious era of India was brought to the fore through a first-ever PBD exhibition on the theme “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, which created a positive sensation among the diaspora participants.
Since we know, every sensation is transitory, the enthusiasm need to be sustained for the next 25 years, and it would not be an easy task. India can do it only through right inclusive policies with pronounced spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” literally the “World is indeed a kith and keen” of the Maha Upanishad, which is considered the most important moral value in the Indian society. Unfortunately, the present ruling establishment is known to have been exploiting a contrary Hindutva politics.
Indian diaspora has thus a greater responsibility to rectify this error and reposition India among the world community with its highest moral value of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” rather than narrow divisive Hindutva as is being pursued for political dominance of Hindus and grabbing power. It should be done in the next 25 years of Amrit Kaal to prevent further disintegration of people within the country and also position India on higher moral pedestal globally. India has indeed this unique global vision and its role in the global order must be strengthened by the Indian diaspora.
No doubt, Indian diaspora has great potential, who have traversed all parts of the world and laid the foundations of India’s cultural expansion while living among different cultures and traditions and yet found ways to unlock the gates of prosperity and higher social status. However, this needs to be strengthened further in the present global context ridden with conflicts.
In the present global economic context, India stands as an oasis and set to retain its fastest growing country in terms of GDP. It is expected that India will be growing by 5.7 per cent in 2023 while one third of the countries would undergo recession and developing countries to suffer great economic downturn. India’s emergence in the global economy during the current period of instability and becoming the 5th largest economy of the world provides great opportunities both for the country and Indian diaspora.
However, such an important opportunity could only be successfully availed if government of India comes forward with more concrete policies and steps removing all hurdles in course of forming greater bond between India and Indian diaspora, and among them. Pravasi Bharatiya Platform thus needs to be strengthened further, and should represent diaspora from all sections of the society. To establish meaningful connection among Indian diaspora and their relationship with India should not be dominated by the RSS-BJP’s divisive Hindutva.
India is set to soon become the largest populated country of the world, with largest population of youth. It must therefore focus on becoming skill capital of the world, providing skilled workforce to the world for sustained economic growth everywhere.
Five thematic plenary sessions were held during the convention which included Role of Diaspora Youth in Innovations and new Technologies; Role of Indian Diaspora in promoting Indian Healthcare Eco-system in Amrit Kaal; Leveraging the soft power of India – Goodwill through craft, cuisine and creativity; Enabling global mobility of Indian Workforce – Role of Indian Diaspora; and Harnessing the potential of diaspora entrepreneurs towards an inclusive approach to nation building.
However, the real progress would depend on the outcome of the discussions, framing of appropriate policies on the basis of recommendations, and their time-bound implementation. (IPA Service)