India is burning, where is her Diaspora?
On the eve of the setting up of the High-Level Committee ...
At a panel discussion held on the eve of the India-EU Summit it was a new Diaspora in evidence which spoke up for Diaspora activism in building national solidarity and transnationalism. Tall talk, I thought, until I discovered that the younger generation of the Diaspora was really serious about doing something for India at this hour of extreme need by forming solidarity groups only if the controls exercised by the Indian state were loosened, the FCRA regulations, the spurious charges of human rights violations, the avoidable allegations of sedition and incarceration of activists, intellectuals and journalists in state prisons, and the recently imposed restrictions on Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders, and above all insufficient information flow in the public domain regarding the best way to go for reaching out materials, expertise and resources to India in the worst period of its suffering since independence..
I remember while working in the newly carved out Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) from the MEA way back in 2004, we, a group of four five officers drawn from different services under a senior Secretary from the IAS had put heart and soul to forming the new Ministry to look after the needs and interests of the GID and in turn get them to look at their mother country with renewed vigour. And so they did. Many new schemes were born, many institutions were created, the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) to hand-hold them for greater investments, the India Development Fund (IDF) to channelize philanthropic and developmental activities, the PM Global Indian Council, an advisory body of eminent Diaspora experts representing various branches of knowledge, technology, innovation and public life, the Indian Council for Migration (ICM) to regulate in and out flow of migrants and above all the Global Information and Knowledge Network. Except for the moribund ICM no other institution stands in place today, not even the MOIA which was wound up in 2016 and thus the GID lost all contact with their mother country to the point of utter confusion and mismanagement. Now a part of a Division headed by a Secretary in the MEA looks after the Diaspora part time, that too namesake as no activity is reported concerning the Diaspora on the Ministry’s website nor does the Ministry spokesperson make any mention of the Diaspora ever..