Overseas Indian Citizens – Why They Are Important?

As the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas is approaching near the MEA has geared up preparations to host the event at Bangalore, Karnataka. PBD is celebrated on Jan 9th of every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian Citizens in development of India. It provides a platform to the Overseas Indian Citizens to know their ancestral land, to acquaint with their traditions, in India. Jan 9 was chosen as on this day Mahatama Gandhi in 1915 returned back to India from South Africa. Overseas Indian Citizens are the people of Indian origin who have either settled outside India or are pursuing some sort of job, education or business in a foreign land.


NRIs are a type are of Overseas Indians who migrate to other countries but carry an Indian passport and stay in India for not more than six months.

Persons of Indian Origin comprise the people who were earlier citizens of India but later acquired citizenship of some other country or a citizen of any other country whose ancestors were Indians.

How the Government of India sees them

overseas indian citizens

The Government of India provides pair of schemes to the Overseas Indian citizens other than NRIs. Persons of Indian Origin are differentiated from the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders. Benefits extended differ too. While the PIOs have a free visa extending 15 years only, the OCIs have a life long visa facility. Several other benefits are conferred upon both types with OCIs enjoying more amenities than PIOs.

Note :- Merger of PIO card with OCI card is assented by the Legislature. If the bill has come into force or not, is not known to the author. 

Some Stats & Digits

Indian diaspora is the largest in the world, according to a survey conducted by UN department of economic and social affairs. An estimated population of 30,000,000 overseas Indians is a large number, which is about 1.25% of present population of India.

Let us take a look at some other prominent figures.

Overseas Indian Citizens in USA

As the Indian diaspora is the largest in USA, the country is well suited for a subject oriented analysis of the status of immigrated Indians. Remember People of Indian Origin constitute about 1% of USA’s total population.

Socio-economic Status

Indians have outdone every immigrant ethnic community in the United States of America. They are placed even better than the locals in terms of “average household income”. They make nearly double the amount that an average American household makes, according to a report by Pew Research Centre. About 70% of Indians(25 years of age & older) have a Bachelor’s degree. This is nearly 2.5 times the national average. 40% of Indians have a Master’s degree, which is five times the national average.

Silicon Valley

overseas indian citizens

About 10-15% of silicon valley start-ups are expected to be those run by Indians. Indians make up about 6% of total work-force in the world’s largest hi-tech corporations hub and cradle for future tech-giants. Sundar Pichai is the Chief Executive Officer of Google. Satya Nadela heads Microsoft. Vinod Khosla is co-founder of Sun Micro-systems. Amit Singhal is Senior Vice President of Google Inc. Shantanu Nareayen is President & CEO of Adobe & the list goes on.

Inclusion of every eminent personality is impossible here.

Importance For India

The primary element of this text is to highlight the importance of Overseas Indian Citizens. Immigrants are just foreign citizens. Some of you might be thinking that after migration they don’t matter to us. Actually immigration has mixed outcomes. While some of them just forget their ancestral land after migration, the others are actively or rather firmly attached to the roots. According to a survey 51% of American Indians considered themselves to be deeply attached to their Indian ethos.

Let us take a look at some of the significant contributions of the Overseas Indian Citizens in the sub-section below.

Indian Lobby In Foreign Nations

Lobbying as interpreted by majority of people as merely “to seek influence on an issue” is half knowledge. As perceived, a phenomenon of influence it surpasses the singularity of its characteristics. Lobbying may be put to use in order to protect a particular community’s interests. Also employed as a measure to check money influence in election, lobbying is a multi-dimensional aspect. Provisions for lobbying exist in USA, and lobbying is a common practice there. A culture which has multiple ethnic groups lobbying is important to safeguard interests of the immigrant population. To conclude it has negative as well as positive effects.

Indian Lobby In USA

Indian lobby is USA is growing with every passing day. Representatives such as Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Kamla Harris are now established leaders in American politics.

overseas indian citizens

Shalabh Kumar, the President of Republic Hindu Coalition has been appointed to the Transition Finance & Inauguration Committee. A close aide of Trump, Shalabh had contributed 890000$ in Trump’s “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar” campaign. Nikki Haley has been appointed as US envoy to the United Nations & Dr. Seema Verma as Administrator of the centres for Medicare & Medicaid services. The influence is growing even stronger with fat purses in Indian pockets.

Other aspects such as R&D, Economics, Space Exploration, etc has significant contribution of People of Indian origin.

In Canada

overseas indian citizens

Indian Sikhs constitute nearly 1.40% of Canadian population. In 1907, this number was merely 5000. They are credited for paving the path to Canada for all South Asian immigrants. The numbers can never express the influence that Sikhs hold in Canada. Cabinet of Canada, Armed Forces and every other major component of Governance has considerable number of Sikhs. Compiling the entirety is impossible here, such is the contribution of Sikhs in particular and Indian community in general.

What the Indians pursue in varies from country to country, but the only similarity is that they are doing well everywhere. Be it UK, UAE, USA or Canada, they are definitely influential everywhere.

Returning as Investors

The migration can be attributed to multiple reasons. Brain drain, pursuing higher education, etc are some of them. Whatever be the cause, at the end only a handful of the immigrants return back to India. In order to tap the growing Indian market for profits, they introduce the expertise of other country in India. Some of the projects they take up are technology driven, benefiting Indian youths, who can’t access the expensive expertise abroad. In a nutshell they act as a source of partial technology transfer. The experience they share inspires the young minds here to make it big. Hence immigration is beneficial as well as harmful to the Nation.

The Community is knocking at the doors of every potentiality throughout the world. The contribution towards the nation is immense and thus Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas is celebrated to honor their services to the Nation.

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