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Will Pakistan’s Gilgit-Balistan be a part of Overseas Indian Day in 2017 ? Read to know more

Centre plans on calling the diaspora from Gilgit-Balistan, the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan for Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in 2017

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(Representational Pic). Wikimedia
  • Indian diaspora abroad is booming more than ever before and their involvement in the countries development is evident
  • The 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day will be held in Bengaluru on 9th January 2017
  • Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and the Centre  is currently discussing the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event

August 29, 2016: A lot has been said on the good and bad coming out of Modi’s strategies to reach the Indian’s living abroad. However, no one can deny that various efforts have proved to be fruitful and we can see them in the form of Visa on arrival and 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s. Similarly, to propagate a feeling of unity, Indian government has been holding a festival to mark the contribution of Indians living abroad, called the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day. It’s celebrated since 2003 and the very first year saw 9,000 Indian’s coming from all around the world to Gujarat to show their support.

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Proposal to invite the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and hence it’s only common to see some controversy when the Indian government discusses the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. The region was a part of Jammu and Kashmir, but has been under the direct control of Islamabad since November 4th, 1947 after Kashmir’s invasion by Pakistani Army . Gilgit-Baltistan is 6 times the size of Pok and is treated as a separate entity.

Motives behind the proposed action

This news comes in after PMO, addressed Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK on two separate occasions this month- during the Independence day speech and at the all-party meeting. The proposal is in accordance with the government’s diplomatic indication of presenting Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Jammu and Kashmir.

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PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Move to join in the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan who were previously engaged by Manmohan Singh’s government, can go either ways. The decision may lead to weakening ties with Pakistan or it could be viewed as an approach to hardline the position taken by Modi in New Delhi.

Positive Outlook

After 2006, the government’s engagement with the diaspora has been minimal. Hence, extending an invitation will address their presence and concerns about India’s ignorance. Additionally, this can be viewed as India standing up against the human rights violation in Pok, Gilgit-Baltistan and the infamous Balochistan.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)