Your Dictionary for PBD
Arachika Kapoor January-February 2017
Know the Indian Diaspora Better with these 8 Terms
The Indian diaspora is huge and with its set of skills it always has something unique to offer to their homeland. As Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) reaches its 14th year, to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India, here are some terms to better understand this heterogeneous, global community.
Overseas Indians attract considerable attention for many reasons — for the emotional bonds that connect them to their ancestral homelands, for boosting tourism, attracting investments, exploring new business opportunities and also for increasing India’s sphere of influence in different regions. To cater to their needs and to make sure they feel at home, even when far away, the Indian government has set aside these categories to give an identity and sense of belongingness to the Indian diaspora.
Person of Indian Origin (PIO)
A Person of Indian Origin (PIO), also known as an expatriate Indian, is a person of Indian ancestry but not a citizen of India. A PIO might have been a citizen of India before moving to another country and taking the citizenship there, or have ancestors born in India. The government issues a PIO card after verification of the origin or ancestry and this card entitles a PIO to enter India without a visa. The spouse of a PIO can also be issued a PIO card though the spouse might not be a PIO. PIO Cards exempt holders from many restrictions that apply to foreign nationals, such as work permits and certain other economic limitations.
Study India Programme (SIP)
Started in 2012, Study India Programme (SIP) initiated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is an initiative to enable foreign citizens of Indian origin between the ages of 18-26 years to participate in short-term courses in the nature of summer schools to familiarise them with the Indian art and culture, heritage, history, economy and development. The short-term courses aim at providing an opportunity to the overseas Indian youth to better understand and appreciate contemporary India, encourage closer ties and enhance their engagement with the country. The scheme is initially implemented in partnership with selected Indian institutions and includes academic content to facilitate understanding of contemporary India and its development, political and financial systems, economic, social and administrative structures, cultural content to help the participants to be immersed in the Indian experience with exposure to Indian mythology, history, arts, handicrafts, dance, music, cuisine, languages and age-old tradition and visits to various institutions, industries and rural areas to allow the participants to gain exposure to India.
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
In response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was introduced under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005. As per the scheme, people with OCI cards do not need a visa sticker passport; just the OCI card and current valid foreign passport is enough to travel to and from India. However, a person, even a child, cannot have a passport of another country simultaneously and is claimed by another country as a citizen of that country, and may be required by the laws of the other country to use one of its passports for foreign travel. Therefore, Overseas Citizenship of India does not entitle the person to a citizenship of India and thus, does not amount to dual citizenship or dual nationality, but grants multiple entries, multipurpose, life-long visa for visiting India, for any length of stay.
Little India is a geographical area with high concentration of population of Indian origin people in a foreign nation. It may also refer to an area with a high concentration of Indian shops, restaurants or markets. Many ‘Little Indias’ can be found in Canada, the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, among various others. Colourful markets with boutiques selling saris and suits, and restaurants offering everything from Indian street food to Indian sweets, complete with temples and gurudwaras, show how the Indian community has taken with them the Indian traditions, cultures as well as their desi taste abroad.
Non-Resident Indian (NRI)
A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) is a citizen of India who holds an Indian passport and has temporarily migrated to another country for employment, residence, education or any other purpose. There are three main categories of NRIs – Indian citizens who stay abroad for employment or for business purposes for an indefinite period of time, Indians working abroad on any assignment with foreign government agencies like the United Nations (UN), including its affiliates, and officials of central and state government and public sector undertaking deputed abroad on temporary assignments or posted to their offices.
Know India Programme (KIP)
Earlier known as Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth (IPDY), Know India Programme (KIP) by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), is a three-week orientation programme for diaspora youth, conducted with a view to familiarise Indian Diaspora youth with India’s culture, heritage, contemporary changes and the progress made by the country in various fields including economic, industrial, education, science and technology and communication and information technology. Started in 2003, KIP provides a unique platform for students and young professionals of Indian origin to visit India, share their views, expectations and experiences, and to develop closer bonds with the country. The programme is open only for Indian origin Diaspora (PIOs) falling under the age group of 18-30 years. The programme includes presentations on the country, visit to places of historical importance and cultural programmes, exposure to Yoga, interaction with faculty and students at prestigious universities, visit to a village to better understand the typical village life, exposure to Indian media, interaction with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and organisations dealing with women affairs and visit to an Indian state for 10 days.
Overseas Indian Youth Club (OIYC)
Overseas Indian Youth Club (OIYC) is an initiative by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to engage the Indian diaspora between the ages of 18-30 years in countries having substantial diaspora population. The membership of OIYC comprises the overseas youth who have visited India under the Know India Programme (KIP). OIYC provides an institutional mechanism in the Indian posts abroad to engage young overseas Indians, students and professionals, including facilitation of their work in social sectors at the district level in India. The aim of the club is also to include participants of other programmes of the ministry such as Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC) and Study India Programme (SIP), among others. The scheme is currently operating in places from where there has been a good participation for the Know India Programmes till date like Durban in South Africa, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Port-of-Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Melbourne in Australia and Singapore.
Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF)
The MEA established the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in 43 Indian embassies across the world, in countries which have a significant overseas Indian population. ICWF is aimed at providing on-site welfare services to the foreign nationals including boarding and lodging for distressed overseas Indian workers in household or domestic sectors and unskilled labourers, offering emergency medical care, providing air passage and initial legal assistance, bearing the expenses on incidentals and for airlifting the mortal remains to India or local cremation of deceased overseas Indians in cases where a sponsor is unable or unwilling to do it or the family is unable to meet the cost. The fund is available for overseas Indian workers, house maids, those who become victim of accidents, deserted spouses of overseas Indians or undocumented overseas Indian workers in need of emergency assistance or any other overseas Indian citizens who are in distress. Currently, the fund is administered by the embassies of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, Iraq and Maldives, Australia, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, UK and USA, Fiji, Reunion Island, Guadeloupe, France, Germany, Guyana, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Suriname, Tanzania and Egypt.