Reverberations of the past: towards a secure future for the Diaspora
I extend to you all my cordial greetings on the occasion of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Bengaluru,
I extend to you all my cordial greetings on the occasion of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Bengaluru, now a biennial event. During my 3-year long tenure with the then Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), I had the privilege to be directly associated with three successive PBDs, planning, promoting and executing them.
It is over 8 years since I left MOIA while serving as the Head of the Diaspora Services Division, responsible for policy planning in respect of India’s approach towards the Diaspora, and implementing the essentials of the Diaspora policy despite its pitfalls and inadequacies. Those were teething problems and we were taking baby steps in a mammoth task which UPA-I was soon to realise but left the gauntlet to be picked up by the successive Government, until much later it was to be ably steered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
I had then faced the challenge of being the only MEA officer assigned to MOIA at a senior level, but soon converted that to an opportunity, serving as the policy link between the two Ministries at a period when the ownership issue for the Diaspora was bedevilling both Ministries, with MEA weighing down the infant Ministry. My experience in having worked in some major Diaspora-specific countries helped. I could develop perspectives for the Diaspora at the Centre while keeping my ears to the ground regarding developments concerning the Indian overseas communities.