India is looking to tap Non Resident Indians to work on short term research projects in technology and science to solve local problems, while giving soft skills training to its blue collar labour force seeking employment overseas.
Inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government will shortly launch a massive skill development programme - Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojna - that would help blue collar workers gear up for life in the countries they migrate for work.
"For those workers who seek economic opportunities abroad, our effort is to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience," said Modi
At the same time, the Prime Minister asked overseas Indians to work for the economic development of the country through participation in various programmes such as Swatch Bharat Mission or making investments in businesses, stating for him, "foreign direct investment" meant "first develop India".
"Brain drain has been considered a loss for the country as Indians went abroad seeking jobs and better life. But for me and my government, such a movement is not a brain drain but brain gain as they can help us in the development,” said Modi addressing over 5,000 overseas Indians at the event, where Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa, a second generation Portugese who flashed his overseas citizen of India (OCI) card on stage.
Over 30 million Indians are living in various countries across the world, who remit over $ 69 billion annually to the country. It is also estimated that 80,000 non-resident Indians have moved back to country over the past two years.
Modi pointed that the country would go heavy on illegal recruitment agents, a scourge that has left thousands of Indians stranded in Gulf and European countries, saying that registration of agents has been made compulsory, besides increasing the bank guarantee for them to Rs 50 lakhs from Rs 20 lakhs.
"We do not see the colour of passports, but the blood relations we share," said the Prime Minister, pointing that efforts have been made across Indian embassies to respond to queries by Indian nationals and ensure their security."We were there for you when you need us."
The Department of Science and Technology is launching a visiting adjunct joint research facility scheme that enables non resident Indian scientists and technocrats to engage in research and development in India.
Asserting that engaging with the overseas Indian community was a priority area for him, the Modi said the government was trying to convert ‘brain drain’ into ‘brain gain’ by inviting the diaspora to contribute their mite in making India strong and self-reliant.
“Diaspora can contribute to India by sparing their time and energy on implementing our flagship programmes and stay connected,” said Modi.
Modi at 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
* The government plans to launch a skill development programme for blue collar workers looking for jobs overseas
* Modi said for him FDI meant “first develop India” appealing to NRIs to invest in the country and in initiatives such as Swachh Bharat
* India is also looking at enabling Indian scientists and technocrats living abroad to engage in short term R&D projects in the country
* There are 30 million Indians living abroad who remit $69 billion annually to the country