Durban: Praising the Indian diaspora for their financial support in development activities in India, Minister of State for Human Resources Development D Purandeshwari has hoped that the community will play a more proactive role in the country.
"It is very pleasing to note that the Indian diaspora was participating with great interest in development activities in their motherland which they had left many years earlier," Purandeshwari said during a session on youth and gender at the first African mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held here.
"Diaspora philanthropy is an ideal area where new partnerships can be forged; existing partnerships can be strengthened and also the range and reach scaled up, especially in areas of health, education and skills development," Purandeshwari said.
"This is not only a good omen, but it is also a tremendous challenge both for the Indian diaspora and also for us in the government of India. He said that Indian diaspora should no longer consider themselves to be impoverished migrants fleeing a poor country,
but rather see themselves as newborns helping to bring India closer to the developed world by alleviating India`s problems of growth and development.
"A vast number of NRI`s in the world today have come to realise that instead of clamouring for Green Cards in the countries wherever they are, they should rather apply for residency permits in India."
Purandeshwari welcomed this change in the attitude of the NRI`s: "We hope that in the years to come, they would play a very proactive role in development in the land of their
origin which reared them and which helped them with the qualification that was essential for them; without which they would not have been able to reach foreign shores in order to
realise their dreams of better opportunities and a better life."
Purandeshwari said the future of India would be bright if youth contributed to development and if women were empowered as envisaged in the Constitution.
Introducing the session, Indian Consul-General Anil Sharan said the huge gap between what youth want and what they really needed to be addressed if growth was to be successful.
He added that there were also wide gaps in most parts of the world in respect of equal opportunities. "If we refer to the Hindu religion, the three most important portfolios are taken up by the goddesses ? the head of finance is Lakshmi; defence is in the hands of Durga and we look to Saraswathie for education and knowledge. Women are equal to men in all areas."
The mini Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is being organised in South Africa with a view to connect with the large Indian diaspora of the country. The theme of the two-day event is `India and Africa: Building Bridges`
South Africa has around 1.28 million Indian-origin people who constitute about 2.5 per cent of its total population.