The NRI/ PIO in
and The Euro
Member of the Board of The Euro-India Centre
to the GOPIO Conference on
“NRI/PIO Business Networking for Trade and Investment and Contribution of
Indian Diaspora in
4 October 2004, Brussels
Dear Mr. Prasad, GOPIO Belgium President, distinguished guests and dear friends,
It is a great privilege to address such an august gathering and it is a great pleasure to talk about such a contemporary topic under the auspices of GOPIO. The best compliment that I came across for what GOPIO is doing came from an Italian journalist covering this event. She told me that she would like to replicate GOPIO networking concept for the Italian Diaspora and would seek advice from PIO, without of course consultancy fees. So compliments to Mr. Thomas Abraham and his team. However before proceeding further, I would like to thank GOPIO organizers and particularly Mr. Sunil Prasad who kindly provided me the opportunity to share with you my own perspectives on the role of European PIO’s and how the goals of GOPIO and The Euro India Centre converge for a common good.
The Euro-India Centre is a
All very true but now let us see how PIO’s and particularly European PIO are participating in this endeavour.
As per the well-known statistics and as also mentioned in GOPIO’s own Concept paper, the Indian Diaspora is 21 million strong; it is geographically spread in 110 countries; it generates USD 160 billion or something to that effect.
So a mere 2% of Indian population earns
almost one third of
My first emphatic reaction to above is –
Impressive indeed especially when seen in the context of the highly flattering
PIO success stories and how the PIO community has helped raise
My second but a provocative reaction is, ‘so what’.
Now let us look at the ‘so what’ in perspective in terms of the FDI flowing into the country. The size of the Indian economy is in the range of about USD 500 billion and the current FDI is about USD 5 billion i.e. 1% of Indian economy. Out of this USD 5 Billion, as per GOPIO Concept paper, Indian Diaspora invests about 10% i.e. USD 500 million. So purely arithmetically speaking, PIO contribution as FDI is 0.01 % of the Indian economy.
Let us also look at it another way; in
terms of the Indian requirement of the most important infrastructure – power
generation. An amount of USD 500 million can perhaps build a 500 MW power
The International Energy Agency
So here is the moral of the story. Just
as a 500 MW is a drop in the
But as the French would say “Ce n’est encore fini”.
As per the published statistics, the big
chunk of the investment in
Next, as per the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Indian exports to the European Union in percentage terms have actually declined from about 29% to a little over 21% during the last decade. The imports have more or less remained stagnant during the same period.
It has also been observed that exports
to U.S have been increasing consistently. I believe that we can ask ourselves
what we in
Thus so far we have reached two conclusions. One, that irrespective of the accuracy of the above figures, the global PIO community’s contribution is rather modest in the overall perspective. Second, that within this limited figure, the European PIO contribution has not been very significant, at best.
However it is not my intention to go
into the reasons behind this situation. That is not the focus of my talk. What
is clear however, is that our contribution or
involvement can, has to and must increase out of
Now I will like to talk about another aspect.
The focus of our investment generally
remains in IT, Biotech, manufacturing or similar sunrise industries where the
returns can be quick. But should this be the lone reason for us to invest in
I raise these questions to ourselves in the background of the specific initiatives that
are interesting examples of what PIO can do in terms of investing in
There are cases like the
Some of the Indian Educationists have created a niche for themselves in the European academic institutions. In turn this has facilitated noticeable increase in the number of Indian students to come to Continental Europe for higher and specialized studies. Still lot of work remains to be done.
Indeed the investment can take many forms and there are many types of examples in different fields where PIO can invest not only to have a return but also to fill a social need. It can be education, health, infrastructure and many others.
So all in all for European PIO, it is
time to catch up particularly with those from
The first step is symbolized by the kind
of gathering we have today, a gathering that promotes networking between the
PIO from all over but particularly among those based in
Now who are the Euro-Indians? We call
our members not Europeans, not Indians but simply Euro-Indians. These can be
Indians or Europeans as long as they share the ideal of promoting interaction
It is in this background that I would like to talk about the Euro India Centre, what it has undertaken to accomplish and how it is going about it. Unfortunately it will not be possible to make a power point presentation on the Centre due to some technical bug in the facilities here. So let me explain the contents of the slides.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your patient hearing and would once again like to congratulate the GOPIO organizers for this successful function and would like to thank them for giving us this opportunity.