Citing example of China, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that India too needs to fully tap the investment potential of NRIs and their entrepreneurial skills and promote inclusive growth.
“We have not yet reaped the full benefits of India’s great diaspora. The most obvious area remains that of investment and entrepreneurship. For instance, in China a large chunk of foreign direct investment has come from overseas Chinese,” he said, while addressing the 10th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here.
Though there have been “large ticket investments” by NRIs and PIOs, he said, “it is far less than the potential and perhaps too concentrated on the formal sector. Rather, we must pursue an alternative model. One that is more balanced and holistic in a socio-economic sense”.
Overseas Indians, he said, should increase their contribution in social and economic areas like education, healthcare, and skill development and supplement the efforts of the government to promote inclusive growth.
Mr. Mukherjee made these remarks while addressing a gathering of about 1,900 Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).
The non-resident Chinese have been playing a major role in the development of China and invest substantial in the domestic economy.
Indian government, Mr. Mukherjee said, has been trying to improve the access of the poor and the vulnerable to vital public services by creating entitlements backed by limited legal guarantees which include the right to information, the right to work in rural areas and the right to education.
Efforts, he added, were made to put in place right to food law which would ensure subsidised foodgrain for the poor population.
Mr. Mukherjee said India does not require just financial contributions from its diaspora, but dedication of time, ideas and endeavour.
On the economy, he said that though the year 2011 has been “an eventful one”, India’s achievements over the last few years have been commendable.
“Though we have witnessed ups and downs, this period has transformed our country and catapulted it into the centre stage in the world...We are widely recognised as a major driver of global growth,” he said.
India is a member of the G20 and, within the G20, it is considered a part of the systemically most important 7.
On the issue of brain drain, the Finance Minister said “the movement of the diaspora is no longer unidirectional as it was in the past. What started as a brain drain, has now become a brain gain, not just for India but the world as a whole”.
Today mobile Indian professionals and entrepreneurs, Mr. Mukherjee said are contributing across the global economy and enhancing its resilience in these troubled times.
“Many have also returned to the home turf and are engaged in its socio-economic fabric. Still others have set up enterprises or professional relations that span national boundaries,” he added.
The entrepreneurial skills of the Indian business community settled abroad are a matter of envy for other nations, he sad.
Foreign firms are increasingly aware of the sharp business acumen of the Indian entrepreneur and managers.
“They have come to respect our business houses and practices,” Mr. Mukherjee said.