Indian Diaspora: Meaning, Facts, Significance | Indian Diaspora UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Indian Diaspora refers to the population of people of Indian origin who have settled in various countries around the world. They form a significant global community and maintain strong connections with their Indian heritage, culture, and traditions. The Indian Diaspora is spread across regions like North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, and they contribute to the economic, social, and cultural spheres of their adopted countries.

Indian Diaspora holds considerable importance in the UPSC exam, particularly in the section of International Relations. Understanding the characteristics, historical context, and contributions of the Indian Diaspora is crucial for candidates. To study this topic effectively, candidates can refer to academic resources, books, and scholarly articles that delve into the experiences, challenges, and achievements of the Indian Diaspora.

Indian Diaspora

Indian diaspora means the large heterogeneous group of people who have their roots in India but have migrated to other countries for some purposes. People of the Indian diaspora represent a wide spectrum of economic and social classes who speak various languages and adhere to various cultural practices. Currently, the Indian Diaspora is about 20 million, which shows the multiplicity of the origin, culture, and religious ethics in the world.

The term Indian Diaspora is used to refer generally to anyone who emigrated from areas that are today within the boundaries of the Republic of India. Also, it alludes to their progeny. The Diaspora, which consists of “NRIs” (Indian citizens who do not reside in India) and “PIOs,” (Persons of Indian Origin who have acquired the citizenship of some other country) is currently believed to number over 20 million people.

According to the Global Migration Report, 2022, China, Mexico, Russia, and India are the top four origin countries internationally, with India having the greatest population of emigrants in 2020.

Distribution of Indian Diaspora

Indian Diaspora is the second-largest diaspora in the world. Every major region of the world is home to the estimated 25 million-strong expatriate Indian community. Indian Diaspora is primarily concentrated in the Middle East, the United States, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Africa, respectively. The overseas Indian population is the end consequence of numerous waves of movement that occurred over many centuries due to mercantilism, colonialism, and globalization, among other factors.

The government’s data presented in Parliament in 2022 revealed that the Indian diaspora is widely scattered geographically. United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, and Canada are among the nations with more than 10 lacks Indians abroad.

Significance and Meaning of Indian Diaspora

An important asset for the advancement of the nations of origin is the overseas communities. It acts as a crucial bridge for the development of the nation of origin with the rest of the globe by providing access to markets, resources, and knowledge. The Indian diaspora plays a significant role in India’s soft diplomacy, which can occasionally be more successful in opening up new channels of communication for the home nation.

  • The Indian diaspora has also aided in the expansion and improvement of the nation where they currently reside. In Silicon Valley, almost one-third of the engineers and 7 percent of the CEOs of high-tech companies are of Indian heritage.
  • In recent years, the Indian Diaspora has become a significant component of investment and trade in India, having played a significant role in the fields of science and technology.
  • In addition to the aforementioned, it is the source of substantial remittance inflows, which have been assisting in the current account’s balance. In the coming years, the Indian diaspora will generate the most remittances worldwide, per the World Bank.

Issues Related to Indian Diaspora

India was one of the first countries to acknowledge the significance of its diaspora and to set up an institutional structure for long-term, mutually beneficial involvement. India has brought its estimated 25 million-strong expatriate Indian community to the public’s attention by establishing an autonomous and efficient Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. But even after these commendable steps, issues still persist. The major issues involving the Indian Diaspora include:

  • The customs and immigration agents’ mistreatment, intimidation, and requests for illicit gratification at the points of entry are the Diaspora’s most frequent complaints.
  • The vast majority of Indians living abroad prefer to keep both their Indian and home country citizenship.
  • The security of foreign employees in the Middle East is now under new threat as a result of recent violent incidents in the region.
  • Nitaqat Law attempts to replace a significant portion of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia with locals. Workers from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and other Indian states who work abroad are impacted by this.

Government Initiatives for Indian Diaspora

The government established a specific Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in 2004 in order to provide particular attention to the concerns relating to the Indian diaspora. It offers the Indian diaspora comprehensive services. Since 2003, the government has celebrated Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas to recognize the contributions of the Indian diaspora to the advancement of India.

  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are presented, and a conference for issues affecting the Indian Diaspora is conducted. This has become a crucial method for reunifying the overseas community with its country of origin.
  • The Know India Program was established as a 3-week introductory program for students living abroad in order to raise knowledge of the numerous dimensions of Indian culture and the nation’s achievements in various disciplines.
  • To assist PIOs in discovering their Indian ancestry, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs administers the “Tracing the Roots” program.
  • Given the vast availability of labor in India, the Swarnapravas Yojana was established to increase Indian workers’ employability overseas by providing them with the necessary training.
  • The government has introduced a number of programs for the well-being of Indians residing abroad, including the Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana 2006 and others.
  • The OCI Program was launched in August 2005 as a result of the government’s strong commitment to meeting the desires and hopes of overseas Indians. Although it grants lifetime, multiple, and multi-entry visas with some rights, it does not actually confer dual citizenship in the traditional sense.

Indian Diaspora UPSC

Indian Diaspora refers to the community of people of Indian origin who have settled in different countries around the world. It is an essential topic to understand for the UPSC exam as it reflects the global influence of India and its cultural, economic, and political connections with other nations.

Candidates must study the meaning, distribution, and significance of the Indian Diaspora to gain insights into India’s global presence and its impact on various fields. Candidates must also refer to the International Relations Books for UPSC to under the relations between countries, and the history and future of the Indian Diaspora in that region.

Indian Diaspora UPSC Questions

Practicing these questions on the topic of Indian Diaspora can greatly benefit candidates in effectively studying for the UPSC exam. Below is a list of the questions that candidates are strongly advised to practice, as it will help improve their level of preparation.

Question: Which country is home to the largest Indian diaspora population? (A) United Kingdom (B) United States, (C) Canada, (D) United Arab Emirates

Answer: (B) United States

Question: Which Indian state has the highest remittance inflow from its diaspora population? (A) Kerala, (B) Maharashtra, (C) Tamil Nadu, (D) Punjab

Answer: (A) Kerala

Question for Mains: Describe how various policies have changed and evolved India’s interaction with its Diaspora in recent years.

Question for Mains: Analyze the challenges and opportunities faced by the Indian Diaspora in their host countries and its impact on their engagement with India.

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