New Delhi, Sept 24: Stating that the role of the Indian diaspora has been much less than the potential, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi called on the Indian-American community to invest and make India a destination to park its funds.
Addressing the Mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in New York yesterday, Mr Ravi said the remittances from overseas Indians were about 23 billion dollars last year, but Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by them is less than five per cent of cumulative FDI.
The Indian diaspora was asked to invest in the long-term future of India, not just with money, but also with knowledge, skills, and ideas.
Addressing the session on Investing in India, Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath said that the most important aspect of India's growth trajectory is its credibility of laws and institutional strengths which scores over other countries.
Lauding the Indian diaspora, Mr Nath said that the community has made its mark across the world and is the face of India.
''There has been a huge difference in perception of India, and the diaspora represents the intellectual and entrepreneurial talent of India,'' he said.
Answering a question, Mr Nath stated that the Indian government should not calibrate its exchange rate to favor industrial sectors.
He added that the Government will shortly be bringing out a new policy for upgradation of education standards and permit foreign educational institutions.
Mr Ravi announced that the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Confederation of Indian Industry have jointly set up the Overseas Indian Facilitation Center to help facilitate the partnership, and this will help Indian diaspora to invest in, and benefit from, India.
Ambassador of India to the US Ronen Sen reiterated that the Indian American community has helped shape perceptions about India in US and its voice is heard with respect.
The community is recognised for its commitment to values, work ethics, innovation and entrepreneurship. Its education and income levels are the highest of any community in the US, they are the 'brainbank' of the country, and dominate sectors such as healthcare and hospitality, he elaborated.
The new relations between India and US would help the community to collaborate with India in areas such as agricultural research, human resources, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Mr Nirmal Singh, Secretary, MOIA, said that it was appropriate for the PBD to be held in New York as the Indian community in North America and the Caribbean is the largest in any region.
The Ministry has addressed many concerns of overseas Indians, including the institution of the Overseas Citizen of India.
He said that of 163,000 OCI cards, about 91,000 have been given out in America and Canada.
An officer will be appointed in the Embassy of India in Washington DC to interact with Indian associations.
He also announced that the OIFC is a one-stop shop set up with the CII so that people of Indian origin can play an important role in India's economy.
Earlier, while opening the session, Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, President, CII and Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, Indian corporates are waiting to participate actively in primary and higher education and skill development.
''India beckons you, it is a great destination for investment,'' added Mr Mittal.
Infosys Technologies Ltd Co-Chairman Nandan M Nilekani emphasised the opportunities for the diaspora in the services sector. The IT sector will double to 50-60 billion dollars in 3-4 years, doubling employment as well.
Its larger social purpose in education, urban governance, healthcare, etc will increase.
The event was attended by over 400 Indian Americans and was jointly organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as part of the India@60 event.