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Diaspora seeks its quota
Bhupesh Bhandari & Bipin Chandran in New Delhi | January 03, 2004 11:39 IST
This is one community the Mandal Commission did not include in its list. But now non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin have demanded reservation in educational institutions.
An NRI contingent is set to present its view at the second Pravasi Bharatiya Samaroh starting on January 9.
But unlike other communities, their demand is not based on social backwardness and certainly not on economic impoverishment. A growing tribe of NRIs wants to send its children for education to India in order to develop their cultural roots. The demand has come especially from NRIs settled abroad for more than two generations.
"We expect a positive response from the government on this. NRIs and PIOs are of the view that they contribute hugely in terms of remittance to the country, and want problems regarding education to be solved," said Amit Mitra, secretary-general, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which is organising the three-day carnival along with the ministry of external affairs.
Mitra can take heart from the fact that some of the key demands raised in the last Pravasi Bhartiya show were accepted by the government, including granting of dual citizenship to PIOs.
"Most of the Indian diaspora is in the third or the fourth generation, which are losing their links with the country. Reservation is going to benefit the fourth and the fifth generation NRIs and PIOs," Mitra said, adding that such a system would also help those who wanted to come back and settle in India.
In what may be a first step towards making the young Indian diaspora aware of the country's values, the organisers of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samaroh are also taking in a delegation of interns for the event. They have been selected from a host of countries, including Australia, Fiji and the United States.
"These interns will go back as brand ambassadors of India. Several of them have come to the country for the first time," he said.