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Lecture | Seminar

Variability in State Policy towards ‘People Abroad’: An analysis of India’s approach to emigrants in the 21st century

  • C.S. Akhil, Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Wednesday 21 March 2018
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden


The study presents a critical examination of the role of the transnational capital class in the Indian policy for ‘People Abroad’ and how the policy and mobility of people from India are influenced by growing transnational capital. Among emigrant countries, India receives the highest amount of remittance per year and ‘Indians abroad’ represent one of the largest and most established diasporas around the world. This paper explores the Indian State’s approach towards the ‘People Abroad’. Despite the lack of specific policy measures, Foreign direct Investment (FDI) and remittances increased considerably in the early 1990s due to the neo-liberal reforms which instituted a liberalized exchange rate regime and current account convertibility. Even though India did not have an explicit/comprehensive policy for the ‘people abroad’, this period witnessed substantial changes in approach from the pre-reform period. The state institutionalised the relationship by establishing several institutions including a high-level committee for Indian diaspora in 2001 followed by a ministry for overseas Indian affairs in 2004. This paper assesses such events, actions, policies and other initiatives with regard to ‘people abroad’ in the 21st century. It further analyses the ‘e-Migrate project’ which is designed for facilitating emigration of ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) category emigrants going to notified countries for employment purpose. This step by the Indian-state is considered as a major attempt in the recent past which tries to protect the rights and welfare of the ‘People Abroad’. This paper ultimately argues that the emigration-related policies in the post-reform period, especially in the 21st century, are serving the interest of growing transnational capital and this explains the lack of comprehensive and stable policies for the ‘People Abroad’ in India.

About the speaker

C S Akhil, Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, India

Members Welcome

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