Varanasi, Jan 21 (GCCurrentAffairs) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said that notwithstanding the fact that India is a leading world class centre for institutions like IITs and IIMs, the government is keen to make the country a “hub for high-end research and development capacities.
It is in this context, she said, the government has increased the scope for the NRIs and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders to conduct better research in Indian institutions and universities.
Delivering her inaugural address at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Divas here, the Minister said, “Along with high-quality education, we want India to be a hub for high-end Research and Development capacities. We have started various programmes such as VAJRA, GIAN and Mission Shodh Ganga to enable overseas scientific community to conduct high-end research and development in India”.
She said the government has also increased the scope for the NRIs and OCI card holders to conduct better research in Indian institutions & universities.
“Today, India has over 41 per cent of its 1.3 billion population below 20 years of age. I would like you to contribute to the Higher Education and Research and Development sectors with your technical expertise and knowledge sharing, and help India harness its huge demographic dividend,” Ms Swaraj said.
“Presently, about 7.5 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher education in research and innovation abroad. To address their grievances, we have constituted an Expert Group comprising Ambassadors of Foreign Missions in Delhi, where majority of our students are pursuing higher education. We have held two meetings in 2018. The recommendations of this meeting are currently being considered,” the Minister said.
She said, every week, “We come across stories on Indian youngsters, making news in foreign countries with exciting achievements in academic and non-academic spheres. Reading about their journeys and odds that they have faced is quite inspirational and gives us the hope that the citizens of the future have the potential to make the world better”.
The Minister further said during the last four-and-a-half years, the Modi government has taken several measures to safeguard emigration of Indian workers under the motto “Surakshit Jaaye, Prasikshit Jaaye”.
“We made online registration of foreign employers mandatory in 2015 to streamline overseas recruitment procedures and introduce safeguards into the migration cycle. Grievances, complaints and petitions of the Indian migrant workers are being addressed online through e-Migrate and MADAD. We are taking strict action against illegal and fraudulent recruitment agents, who are cheating Indian workers seeking overseas employment”.
“We have an Indian Community welfare fund for carrying out welfare activities for distressed overseas Indians.
We are strengthening the entire ecosystem of our administrative arrangements and our embassies and my colleagues are proactively reaching out on social media to solve your problems in real time basis,” she said.
She said the government has also pioneered the use of digital platforms and social media to actively enhance 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. We are using various other tools like Podcasts and digital magazine to enhance our access to the diaspora youth”.
The “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,” she said.
Bharat Ko Janiye (Know India) Quiz programme which Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 Prime Minister on Tuesday here at the PBD Convention function.
The Minister said, “We have also organised seven conferences in 2018 to have a sustained dialogue with our
diaspora experts on issues of relevance such as Artificial Intelligence, Solar Energy, Waste Management etc”.
“One such conference was on ‘Engagement with younger members of Indian Diaspora’. I am happy that the outcomes of that Conference will be discussed in the 15th PBD plenary session here,” Ms Swaraj said.