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Keynote Address by Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Conference 2022 on “Role of Diaspora Youth in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – Innovation and New Technologies”

January 09, 2022

1. Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog,
2. Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV & OIA),
3. Esteemed Panelists and Friends,

Namaskaram !


I am pleased to deliver the keynote address at this youth PBD Conference focusing on role of diaspora Youth in innovation and technology.

2. At the outset let me begin by saying that technology today is not just a means for development, but, in these times of pandemic, it has become fundamental to our regular functioning. Youth are playing a key role in determining the direction of where our society and the world is moving by bringing technological changes and using it in innovative ways, particularly in social and developmental sectors.

3. Today, in the context of technological development, it is indeed a proud moment for India when Indians are becoming global leaders. Our diaspora serves as a living bridge connecting India to the world. It is heartwarming how the members of our large diaspora, while being well integrated into the countries and societies where they live and work, have continued to maintain deep and abiding connections with their motherland and its rich heritage, traditions and culture. Even as they hold esteemed positions, leading from the front in their respective spheres, be it political, economic, cultural, services, or technology, they retain and nurture an abiding bond and interest in staying connected with their roots and upholding their traditions, rites and rituals, culture, cuisine and language. From Sundar Pichai to Parag Agarwal, from Rajeev Suri to Leena Nair, several luminaries are proof of Indian youth leadership on the global stage. Non Resident Unicorns (NRUs) building on India's strength in IT and outsourcing, has become the new buzz word.

Friends,

4. Indian youth has been making great strides in finding innovative solutions to current problems and is a repository to futuristic thinking. The youth, both from India as well as Diaspora community, have made a remarkable journey in innovation, technology and creativity. All this talent around the world needs a platform to connect from, assist each other and also share their respective successes and challenges. This Youth PBD conference is one such platform to share experiences, build friendships and find solutions to the present as well as future challenges. Connecting the youth with each other and with India is an investment for the future of the country which can shape the destinies of the coming generations. Working with the youth diaspora and understanding them better will expand the reach and efficacy of India’s engagement with the diaspora.

5. Through this Youth PBD Conference, we endeavour to further deepen the engagement with the rapidly growing members of diaspora-children who have begun to occupy prominent positions in various countries across the world. Many such youth are involved in high tech areas and new startups, for example, in finance, e-platforms and knowledge based innovations which are constantly disrupting the established forms of businesses and markets.

Friends,

6. India is among the very few countries which has an extensive and evolving policy framework for engagement with diaspora. The priority of the government led by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji is to build everlasting links with the Indian Diaspora the world over. Whenever the Prime Minister is overseas, we see grand welcome to the leader and enormous shower of love on him. It is actually the faith of our diaspora, being reposed on India, and their pride in Indianness. Under Prime Minister’s leadership, our outreach to the diaspora, has taken new dimensions and evolved in a way, where we are moving towards the concept of "Global Indian”.

7. Various programs have been initiated under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister to connect to diaspora and collaborate in science and technology. I would like to mention some of them.

8. The VAJRA Faculty Scheme, launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister during the PBD in 2017 brings an international dimension to the R&D ecosystem of India. It taps the expertise of International Faculty / scientists/technologists including NRI and PIO/ OCI in highly competitive areas of research and development by offering them adjunct / visiting faculty positions in Indian Institutions / Universities. It has special focus on engaging NRI / PIO / OCIs in National R&D Programs and thereby deepen their engagement for value addition to various S&T programs, projects and missions of the Government.

9. Another major initiative is named PRABHASS: "Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark - Integrating Indian Diaspora with the Mother Land” is an initiative to develop a database and a virtual platform to bring on board the Global Indian S&T Community to address the Indian social challenges / problems. The main objective of PRABHASS, is to invite and encourage Indian Diaspora to come forward, and join hands with India to help solve challenges being faced by Indian people, thereby making an impact on society at large.

10. Under the aegis of PRABHASS, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji inaugurated the Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit, a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian researchers and academicians on Gandhi Jayanti, 02nd October 2020. About 2600 overseas Indians registered for the summit online. About 3200 panelists and about 22,500 academicians and scientists from India and overseas participated in this month-long series of webinars. These deliberations were aligned with national goals and priorities of research in India.

11. VAIBHAV has led the way in establishing research capability as an important avenue towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat. It has paved the way for aligning contemporary research in the country towards a shared purpose in each area. Resident and overseas Indians have given an integrated perspective of research and academic capabilities to seamlessly contribute to India’s S&T capability for global good. VAIBHAV has created an interactive and facile mechanism in the Cyberspace, and has promoted collaboration and the development of leadership.

Friends,

12. This year is very special to us as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our independence. Not only in India but also in all other countries, our Missions and Posts are celebrating the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav in a befitting manner. In the specific context of engaging the diaspora on thematic concepts and on the special occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry has organised at least three thematic virtual conferences in the last couple of months. The idea was to engage with the diaspora virtually in spite of difficulties faced because of the pandemic. The topics included ‘Leveraging the Soft Power of India – Goodwill through Craft, Cuisine and Creativity”, "Future of Natural Resources (Hydrocarbons, Rare Earth Metals and Blue Economy)” and "Grimitya Conference”.

13. I am confident that this conference will also further add to the mutual efforts of the Government and the diaspora to bolster the robust connections and ties that have been established over the years.

14. Indian Diaspora Youth plays an indispensable role in Innovation and New Technologies, at global level, and also at devising innovative solutions to local problems in India. I feel that the focus should also be on short duration, quick gain projects to address immediate challenges and deliver results in the shortest possible time. Time has come to dissolve the boundaries between private, public, national laboratories, academic institution towards synergizing and aligning national priorities to delivery based projects.

Friends,

15. On this important day of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, I again convey my warmest regards to all my brothers and sisters across the globe, and call upon them to connect back to their motherland in all possible ways, to give shape to the vision of "Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

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