PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore
PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday, during the celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, said that it is the migration of educated that has brought laurels to India.

Hailing the successful emigrants, Swaraj said: “Today many MNCs are headed by young Indian origin CEOs, whether it’s Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ajay Banga of MasterCard or Gita Gopinath of IMF. They have kindled a new wave of appreciation for this land which has produced and exported so many achievers. The benchmark for success, which the Pravasi community has set, is a motivation for us in India.”

The minister further stated that the success of every Indian emigrant is a testimonial to the unbeatable spirit, their dedication, and their patience and forbearance in the face of extreme hardships. Talking about the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which started in 2015, Swaraj stated that it is important to engage with the youth diaspora. “This Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is not only about discovering your roots, and appreciating your heritage, but it is also about learning how you can be a part of India’s development journey towards a New India. We would like to create an environment in India that will enable you to have the conviction that you and your children can excel in this country as much as you could anywhere else in the world. Whether you are looking for affordable quality education or tech start-ups, India offers limitless opportunities,” she added.

Stating that people left India in search of better opportunities for higher education, Swaraj said: “Today, the education sector in India has become very lucrative for your children to pursue higher education in India. India today is home to some of the best world-class university infrastructures and R&D capacities such as IITs and IIMs.” “Along with high-quality education, we want India to be a hub for high-end Research and Development capacities. We have started various programs such as VAJRA, GIAN and Mission Shodh Ganga to enable overseas scientific community to conduct high-end research and development in India,” Swaraj added.

She also asserted that the Ministry of External Affairs has utilised digital and socialplatforms to enhance the outreach to the Indian diaspora.”Today we are present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, SoundCloud and Flick as well as Linkedln. We are disseminating real time information about our bilateral and international relations and official engagements, and creating awareness and understanding about India’s foreign policy issues through the use of social media,” Swaraj asserted.

She added, “We are using various other tools like Podcasts and digital magazine to enhance our access to the diaspora youth. Our ‘MEA App’ mobile application has brought all the websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach. Our embassies have been proactive on the digital media, providing consular help and guidance. Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, help is just a message away from any Indian National in distress.”

Talking about ‘Know India Programme’, Swaraj said that the initiative aims to give you a flavor of India and provide a platform for interaction with policy makers, industry and civil society. She also said that several participants in the programme were attending the event.

“Another initiative, Bharat Ko Janiye (Know India) Quiz program which Prime Minister had launched for young overseas Indians is another initiative which has received tremendous response. Over 40,000 overseas Indians participated in the 2nd edition of this quiz. The winners will receive the medals from Hon’ble Prime Minister tomorrow during the inauguration of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention. We have also organized seven conferences in 2018 to have a sustained dialogue with our diasporaexperts on issues of relevance,” she said.

Talking about Indian demographic, Swaraj said that by 2020, the average age in India will be 29, making it the world’s youngest country with 64 per cent of the population in the working age group. While countries like US, Western Europe, Japan and even China are ageing rapidly, India is getting younger and younger.

She further said that by 2022, these ageing countries will become super-aged with over one-third of their population over 65 years of age, while India will have the world’s largest working population. This demographic prospective offers India an unprecedented edge, which could further contribute to building a New Young India by 2022. Swaraj added that India will be the source of skilled manpower to the world by 2022. The Skill India initiative is aimed towards making India ready to become the Skill capital of the world by 2022. “We have the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana which aims to enhance the skills of Indian youth, who seek overseas employment,” she added.

“Our aim is to not just export “man-power” to the world, but to export “skills”. Exporting “skilled” manpower will not only garner a better image for India on the global space, but will also lead to better salaries and better remittances, thus raising India’s GDP further,” Swaraj stated. Hailing India as ‘a land of innovation and start-ups’, Swaraj said that contribution of Indian diaspora in technical field is exemplary. Nearly 16 per cent of startups in Silicon Valley had an Indian co-founder. The figure for Indian startups is even higher in some areas such as business software.

“We can partner in building an infrastructure for skill development which will contribute to greater employment in India as well as abroad. India is now recognised as one of the leading countries in science and technology. India has garnered world prestige in fields like Supercomputing to Space Technology. Rapid technological advancement has to be matched up with training and education infrastructure,” she further asserted.

Stating that in the last four and a half years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government has dismantled lots of rules and regulations and further opened up India’s investment regime, Swaraj said: “We consider you as members of our extended family and overseas Indians have been assigned a special place in the action agenda prepared for India’s development till 2020 by NITI Aayog.”

“We have launched a number of flagship program to achieve our developmental objectives. The Smart Cities Mission; the Digital India; the Skill India; the Start Up India; the Swachh Bharat Campaign are all part of our efforts to realize the dream of a prosperous, skillful, enterprising, clean and futuristic India. We want you to partner with us to realize that dream,” she added.

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