The first meeting of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians was held in New Delhi on January 7, 2010 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The members of the council and other invitees who attended the meeting along with the Prime Minister included Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs, Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri TKA Nair, Principal Secretary to PM, Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary, MOIA, Prof Jagdish Bhagwati, Shri Karan F Bilimoria, Shri Swadesh Chatterjee, Ms Ela Gandhi, Shri Rajat K Gupta, Lord Khalid Hameed, Dr Renu Khator, Shri Kishore Mahbubani, Shri PNC Menon, Shri L N Mittal, Lord Bhikhu Chotalal Parekh, Shri Sam Pitroda, Mr Neville Joseph Roach, Tan Sri Dato’ Ajit Singh, Prof Srinivasa S R Varadhan, Shri Yusuffali M..A. and Smt. Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary (as a special invitee).

During the discussions, the following suggestions emerged:

1. Giving priority to the development of the education sector in India through:

• Leveraging the knowledge resources of the overseas community to improve the quality of higher education.
• Development of global clusters of talent to advise on Government initiatives in higher education.
• Establishment of chairs in universities overseas, and in Indian universities to promote understanding and academic exchanges.
• Establishment of elite foreign universities in India.
• Operationalizing the idea of flexible learning for imparting quality higher education.

2. Creating a comprehensive and scientific database of overseas Indians. 

3. Working out ways and means to engage the younger second and third generation overseas Indians in a sustained manner through:

• Interships for young students
• Study in India programmes and
• Visits by young academics.

4. Strengthening the institutional mechanism for promoting philanthropy and social development in India by the overseas community including through philanthropic foundations, self-help groups and public-private partnerships.

5. Compiling an inventory of non-Government and voluntary organizations to facilitate the participation of overseas Indians in India’s social development efforts.

6. Opening investment avenues for small and medium investors in the overseas Indian community to enable them to invest in India and benefit from India’s economic opportunities through investment instruments such as India Infrastructure Bonds.

7. Creating an electronic exchange to build a ready pool of experts in different fields like health, education, urban development, sanitation, and an inventory of master trainers in skill development.

8. Creating a close e-mail user group of members of the Global Advisory Council to facilitate regular exchange of views and follow up.

9. Establishing subject specific Steering Groups from amongst the Council members to enable focused and regular interaction.

10. Providing institutional arrangements to address problems faced by Indian diaspora.

11. Special recognition and honouring of migrant workers under the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas network.

In his concluding remarks, the Prime Minister noted that this was the first time that such an exceptional group of eminent people of Indian origin had been assembled together on one platform. The Government was encouraged by their presence, and would take all steps to sustain its engagement with the Indian diaspora, and benefit from the views of the Members of the Council. The Prime Minister conveyed the deep appreciation of the Government of India to the suggestions made by the Members of the Council and stated that these suggestions would be carefully considered for follow up action by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

September 2010

click here to enlarge

 >> Cover Story
 >> From the Editor