Some of the best-known names of the Indian diaspora have come together to give something back to the motherland. And for once, it is not money but expertise. What's more, they are looking at a two-way transfer.
This will be done under the aegis of Indian-American Council, whose just-constituted board boasts of names like Texas Pacific Group's general partner Vivek Paul, McKinsey & Co's managing director Rajat Gupta, KPCB partner Vinod Khosla, United Nations Under Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor and eminent academicians Marti G Subramanyam (New York University), Krishna G Palepu (Harvard), Raj Reddy (Carnegie Mellon) and Deepak C Jain of JK Kellogg School.
As many as 100 projects are being launched in December in India, which will have expertise from Indian-Americans. The target is to take this number to 1,000 by the end of 2006.
For the first year, the council will focus on Indian-Americans alone. Then it will go global.
The council has tied up with Confederation of Indian Industry to look for promising projects in India that are stuck for want of expertise.
Similarly, if for instance, a US company wants an Indian based in India on its board of directors, the council will help it find one. The formation of the council is based on the premise that funding is no longer an issue for India and expertise is as valuable as money.
It will be a good idea to get expertise from those who may also have an emotional involvement with the country.
"This (the council) is a clearing house for global Indian talent... to unleash the energies of the diaspora for India's multi-faceted development," McKinsey director Anil Kumar, who is the council's co-chairman along with home-grown tech evangelist Sam Pitroda, told Business Standard on Tuesday.
However, the projects will not be restricted to the corporate world. Education, health care, economic development, science and technology, and the social sector are also on its radar.
That is how film maker Mira Nair, too, has found a place on its board, alongside Tharoor.