India and World – Major Diaspora

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India and World – Major Diaspora


Major Indian diaspora in

  1. Fiji
  2. Malaysia
  3. Singapore
  4. Sri Lanka (?)
  5. Australia
  6. US
  7. Carribean
  8. Kenya
  9. Uganda
  10. South Africa (?)



Since the mid-1990s, more Indians have been

coming to work in Uganda. Their number is currently estimated to be around 20,000,

of which around 15,000 hold Indian passports, while the remaining hold Ugandan,

British, Canadian and other passports. Indians and PIOs play a leading role in the

Ugandan economy, especially in manufacturing, trade, agro-processing, banking,

sugar, real estate, hotels, tourism and information technology. They employ

thousands of Ugandans, and are amongst the biggest taxpayers in the country.


In the late 1890s, over 30,000 Indians, mostly Sikhs, were brought on 3 year contracts to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Kisumu by 1901, and to Kampala by 1931.


The fate suffered by the Ugandan Indians, are among the most extreme cases of Indophobia in recent times.



  • Only foreign country where PIOs are a majority.
    • 68% of population in 2007
  • Important persons
    • Seewoosagur Ramgoolam: First PM
    • Anerood Jugnauth: President
    • Navin Ramgoolam: Current PM
    • A G Pillay: Chief Justice


Reunion Islands

  • About 220000 Indians (31% of the population)


Contribution of Diaspora to India

The emergence of significant Diasporas has in recent years brought into sharp focus two key facts. First, there is a large expatriate population of skilled people from emerging economies in the developed world. Second, overseas communities can constitute a significant resource for the development of the countries of origin. The movement of the high skilled and low skilled workers from less to more developed economies and back opens several new opportunities for development. To view the Diaspora only through the looking glass of remittances and financial flows is to take a myopic view. Not all expatriates need to be investors and their development impact measured only in terms of financial contributions to the home country.

An overseas community can and does serve as an important ‘bridge’ to access knowledge, expertise, resources and markets for the development of the country of origin. The success of this bridge is often predicated upon two conditions: the ability of the Diaspora to develop and project a coherent, intrinsically motivated and progressive identity and the capacity of the home country to establish conditions and institutions for sustainable, symbiotic and mutually rewarding engagement. Home countries are now beginning to recognise the need to pursue and promote the dynamic of the Diaspora and development.

India has the second largest Diaspora in the world. The overseas Indian community estimated at over 25 million is spread across every major region in the world. Yet, it is difficult to speak of one great Indian Diaspora. The overseas Indian community is the result of different waves of migration over hundreds of years driven by a variety of reasons-mercantilism, colonialism and globalisation. Its early experiences make up a saga of trials, tribulations and the eventual triumph of determination and hard work. In the last three decades of the 20th century the character of migration began to change and a ‘new Diaspora’ led by high skilled professionals moving to the western world and semi-skilled contract workers moving to the Gulf, West and South East Asia emerged.

The overseas Indian community thus constitutes a diverse, heterogeneous and eclectic global community representing different regions, languages, cultures and faiths. The common thread that binds them together is the idea of India and its intrinsic values. Overseas Indians comprise People of Indian Origin and Non Resident Indians and today are amongst the best educated and successful communities in the world. In every part of the world the overseas Indian community is recognised and respected for its hard work, discipline, non-interference and for successfully integrating with the local community. Overseas Indians have made significant contributions to the economy of the country of residence and have added in considerable measure to knowledge and innovation.

Overseas Indians share a strong bond with their country of origin. This is reflected in their language, cultures and traditions that have been maintained, often over centuries, and continue to be vibrant and unique. It is now being witnessed in the growing popularity of Indian films, dance, music, arts and culture on foreign shores, the strong surge in remittances back home, the return of many to live and work in India and in their increasing engagement with India’s development. The relationship between India and its overseas community is growing, new partnerships evolving and newer multi-faceted dimensions being explored.

India’s engagement with its Diaspora is symbiotic, the strands of both sides of the relationship equally important to create a resilient and robust bond. To engage with the Diaspora in a sustainable and mutually rewarding manner across the economic, social and cultural space is at the heart of the policy of the Ministry. To create conditions, partnerships and institutions that will best enable India to connect with its Diaspora comprehensively is central to all our programmes and activities. As a new India seeks to become a global player of significance, the time has come for a strong and sustained engagement between India and overseas Indians. The time has also come for overseas Indians to benefit from the exciting opportunities that India provides. The time is now.



  • Largest diaspora
    • US>Malaysia>Saudi>UAE
  • Economy
    • $30 bn of remittances in 2010
    • Highest in the world
    • FDI
  • Technology development and transfer (?)
  • Cultural link
  • World Leadership

GoI’s initiative for diaspora

  • Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
  • Pravasi Bhartiya Samamn Award
  • Indian Community Welfare Fund
  • Overseas Citizenship of India scheme
  • Know India Programme
  • Study India Programme
  • Scholarship Programmes for Diaspora Children
  • PIO University
  • Legal and Financial Assistance to Women Deserted by their Overseas Indian Spouses
  • Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
    • 9th Jan every year since 2003
    • Provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities
    • Networking
  • PBSA
    • Is the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians
  • Indian Community Welfare Fund
    • In 43 missions in countries that have a significant overseas Indian population
    • Aimed at providing on site welfare services on a means tested basis in the most deserving cases
  • OCI scheme
    • Introduced in 2005 by amending the Citizenship Act 1955
    • Provides for registration as OCI of all PIOs who were citizens of India on 26th Jan 1950 or there after or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th Jan 1950 except who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or such other country as the Central Govt may by notification specify
    • OCI does not confer political rights
    • Not entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India under Article 16 of the constitution
  • PIO University
    • Would be established
  • In 2011, government launched a web-based procedure of attesting employment contracts of Indian workers in the UAE to prevent exploitation by foreign employers
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