Describing non-resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin as Citizens of India Overseas, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday asked them to invest in the manufacturing sector to give a boost to employment generation in the country.
Observing that India was in the midst of a growing "knowledge economy", he told a conference of 'Pravasi Indians' that though the government was going ahead with the Employment Guarantee Scheme to provide at least 100 days of employment in the rural sector, there was an army of educated unemployed who needed jobs.
"Invest in the knowledge industry like IT and biotechnology. But invest more in the manufacturing sector to create more job opportunities," Sibal said at the conference on education and employment organised by the NRI Institute headed by former Air Chief N C Suri.
"We realise that the country cannot move forward without guaranteeing employment for 100 days to the youth in the rural sector", where 70 per cent of the population lived, he said, pointing out that there were 360 million uneducated in India which was more than the population of the US.
Maintaining that almost half the country's population was below 25 years of age, Sibal said this did not mean India was not progressing in IT and biotechnology and was poised to become a "superpower" in future. "We must know where we stand ... our weaknesses to move forward to achieve our aim".
However, Sibal pointed out that IT and biotechnology did not generate employment, though the services sector, which included these areas, contributed almost half of the gross domestic product.
He also stressed the need for standardisation of the education system throughout the country saying different levels of education in different states created problems.
Rasik Patel, international chairman of the institute, exhorted the NRIs to invest in the education sector.
"NRIs should not just provide scholarships, but give complete support to the students till he or she gets a job," he said, stressing on generating opportunities specifically for the socially disadvantaged and the underprivileged.Congress MP Madhu Yaskhi supported the government's move to create a separate ministry for the overseas Indians and said, NRIs should "not be non-required Indians, but make themselves the most-required ones".