Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


New Delhi: India’s ties with its diaspora have intensified greatly ever under the NDA government, said Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister.

At the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual conclave of the Indian diaspora, Sushma Swaraj said in her speech, ” Contacts with you have strengthened since our government came to office”.

“It is our effort now to reach out to the maximum number of the diaspora”, she said.

She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken engagements with the diaspora to a new level.

Starting with the Madison Square Garden event in 2014 where Modi addressed a huge gathering of the Indian diaspora after much scepticism, Sushma Swaraj said the Prime Minister has made a number of addresses in public gatherings of the Indian diaspora across various parts of the world.

“Recently, as you all know, when the prime minister went to the United Kingdom, the Madison Square Garden’s record was broken and the number of people who were present at the diaspora event (in Wembley Stadium) was three times that number,” she said.

She said that earlier when Indian prime ministers went to other countries, the diaspora there would get to read about it in newspapers but now, they get to know even a month in advance that the prime minister would be visiting their country.

“The Prime Minister speaks to them. He goes prepared knowing their problems, he listens to them, he listens to their pain and once he returns to India, he resorts to solve these problems and this is the way in fact contact with the Indian community has increased by leaps and bounds after this government came to office”, Sushma Swaraj said.

Stating that overseas Indians now knew that there was someone back home to help when they get into trouble, she said in its short tenure of 19 months, the government faced four major problems.

“It was on May 28, 2014, that we took our oath of office and on June 3, the crisis erupted in Ukraine where 1,000 Indian students had to be evacuated,” she said.

“Five days later, on June 8, the problem in Iraq erupted when 7,500 Indians had to be evacuated.”

Even as the problems in Iraq persisted, the crisis in Libya took a turn for the worse and 3,500 Indians had to be evacuated, the minister said.

From Yemen, apart from 4,500 Indians, India evacuated 2,500 foreign nationals from 38 countries.

Stating that the government issued advisories for Indians when there is any problem in one part of the world or the other, she said unfortunately little heed was paid to such advisories.

She urged all Indians living in countries where trouble starts to follow these advisories.

In this age of social media, Sushma Swaraj said that whenever Indians abroad find themselves in trouble they can always tweet her and she would immediately respond and ensure that the Indian mission in the country concerned came to the person’s help.

She also said all Indian missions have been colour-coded and if a large number of complaints piled up in a particular mission, that mission’s colour would turn red.

Coming to overseas Indians’ contributions to India’s development story, she said the government has launched three flagship programmes — Make in India, Skill India and Digital India — and three programmes that were in the mission mode — clean schools, clean India and the Namami Ganga project.

“There was a time when opportunities in India did not exist to have a good income and people went abroad seeking greener pastures and there was a lot of brain drain”, she said.

“But today, India has changed and there are all kinds of opportunities to earn and make a very good living and the time has come for you to rethink about coming back to India”, the minister said, adding that people can also keep one foot in India and one foot in their country of adoption.

Stating that the time has come for overseas Indians to repay their debt to their motherland, she urged them on the occasion of the PBD to pledge to contribute to the success of all developmental programmes of the country.

Coming to the change in the format of the PBD, she said that earlier the event was an annual three-day “mela” that ended without any concrete results.

“But now we have decided that we will hold this ‘mela’ every two years and in the intervening years, there will be a lot of thinking and a lot of thought process that would go into it.”

“People would study the various issues and come up with various recommendations so that the problems of the diaspora could be solved”, Sushma Swaraj said.

Saturday’s event was webcast live in London, Dubai, Port Louis, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Sushma Swaraj held question and answer sessions with diaspora members present in those places and discussed their problems and issues.(IANS)



When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

ALSO READ: Can You Drink Coffee While You're Pregnant?

"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

Keep Reading Show less

It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Emoji- A Choice for Interracial Couple

Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards.

Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.

Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.

ALSO READ: Jeff Bezos Used To Review Products On Amazon

After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin

Keep reading... Show less