January 2015 \ Interviews \ Interview—MOIA
"We will use technology for constant dialogue with Pravasi Indians"

Mr Sunil Soni, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, speaks to India Empire's Editor and Publisher, Sayantan Chakravarty on a range of issues concerning the Indian Diaspora and the PBD 2015

By Sayantan Chakravarty

You have just taken over as Secretary. What will be the key areas of focused attention for you?

See there are two very important areas we need to focus upon. One is, of course, the issue of the Pravasis themselves—their issues, and having a constant sort of dialogue with them. At the moment the dialogue is kind of a broken dialogue. We meet them once a year and then it is a broken dialogue. We do one PBD, and one mini PBD in another country. So we do not have a constant sort of a dialogue with the Pravasis. But I think we need to build the system. The whole internet connectivity, this sort of system is available. So we should use the technology to be in touch with each individual Pravasi. Everybody will not be having a two way communication, but whosoever wants that, let’s have a two way communication with them. Otherwise a newsletter or so should go from our side to the Pravasis. And they should be able to upgrade their information on the common database. So that is actually one way communication from two sides, but does not really cross each other. The second area we need to focus on is to become a facilitator for immigrants. That is not really working the way it should. I am not very happy with the way I see things working. There also our touch with the actual immigrant is missing. We are in touch with recruiting agencies, and others, but direct touch is missing. We need to facilitate it in a much better manner. India has a lot of advantage of having a lot of youth today, and the world has a requirement of people. Yesterday the PM made a statement that the world requires a lot of teachers. World requires lot of healthcare workers today. The world population is aging. For to look after the aged people, a lot of people are required, not just nurses, something even lower down than nurses. There is a huge demand for age care workers. India has a huge potential to provide that. But we should make that process a smooth process, at the same time see that the Indian workers who were abroad are not exploited. Lot of exploitation is taking place. So we have to facilitate and protect these immigrants, in the Gulf and other countries also. We need to really work out a strategy which is more proactive, facilitative as well as proactive in their protection. So these are the two focused areas, I think, we need to work on.