Economic development, competitiveness and growth in modern economies will be determined by its capacity to acquire knowledge and new technology and to apply both in time for economic growth. In today’s world gaining knowledge will be a significant economic activity and this will build capacity with the developing economies. Today’s world requires free movement of goods, capital and human resources across borders. On the one hand, modern economies are progressing in this direction and on the other hand, Brexit may lead to another way, and it will be quite interesting to know what Brexit will bring finally for British people. Globalisation reinforces the competition, investment and demand, however, some still see international migration as a threat instead of an asset as a value of human capital, movement of knowledge and skills beyond the borders of nation-states will be the centre of economic development.
The emergence of Jews, Chinese, Irish and Indian Diasporas in recent times is a signing example of the role of knowledge and skills for economic developments of economies as overseas communities provides a significant resource for the development of the countries of origin. The high skilled workforce from less to more developed economies and return migration provide immense opportunities for economic and technological development.
We know that overseas communities serve as a bridge to provide expertise and capital to the countries of their origin. Success always depends on the skills of the people to develop and the capacity to deliver. The capacity of the country of origin also plays a vital role in creating an enabling environment, recognising the right people and expertise.
The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, estimated that approximately 31.2 million people of Indian ancestry or origin residing outside India, with these updated numbers now India has one of the largest Diaspora population in the world with over 15.6 million people according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Indian Diaspora possesses strong regional and linguistic identities. They migrated in the last 125-150 years because of colonialism and globalisation. In the last 30-40 years, the character of Indian Diaspora completely changed as skilled professionals.
In every part, the overseas Indians are amongst the best educated and well recognised and respected for their success and their ability to integrate with the local communities. They are also contributing socially, culturally and economically in the country of their residence. Overseas Indians are also making significant contributions through knowledge, entrepreneurship and investment in India.
India needs to establish a mechanism apart from the annual celebration of PBD to bring vast Diaspora expertise and knowledge for nation-building. Till now India’s engagement with the Diaspora somewhat symbolic therefore India need to build a partnership with Diaspora communities at the state and district level. On the one hand, this will help India to play a more vital role in the communities of nations and on the other hand India and Diaspora both may benefit for the excellent opportunities that compliment to both sides.
(Prashant Shukla is a founder and CEO of Ireland-India Council and East-West Commercial Enterprises Limited.)