Speaking at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Bengaluru, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said the Government of India will shortly launch the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY) aimed at upskilling youth seeking employment abroad.
The PKVY will train and certify Indians keen on overseas employment in select sectors, upskilling and training professionals at par with international standards. This will be implemented by the National Skill Development Corporation through its training partners, in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Skill Development Ministry.
Through this initiative, the prime minister hopes to convert “brain drain to brain gain” in the country and prevent exploitation of Indian labour at the hands of their foreign employer due to lack of relevant skills. Appreciating the efforts made by the Government, Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs (MEA) asserted that “welfare and safety of all Indians abroad is our top priority. Their security is of utmost importance.”
MEA would provide for Pre-Departure Orientation Training (PDOT), which means providing knowledge of the local culture, language, work ethics and other soft skills relevant to the country in which they obtain a job.
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Emphasising on the outstanding contributions made by Non-residential Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) abroad in their chosen fields, Modi said, “Remittance of close to sixty-nine billion dollars annually by overseas Indians makes an invaluable contribution to the Indian economy.”
The Prime Minister further encouraged all PIO card holders to convert their PIO Cards to OCI (Overseas citizen of India) Cards by extending the deadline from December 31, 2016 to June 30, 2017 without any penalty.
Beginning with Mauritius, the government is working to put in place procedures so that descendants of Girmitiyas could become eligible for OCI Cards. “We remain committed to addressing similar difficulties of PIOs in Fiji, Reunion Islands, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean States,” Modi was quoted by The Business Standard.
Girmitiyas, or indentured labourers, are the generations of Indians who left the country in the middle and late 19th century to serve as labourers in the then British colonies where they eventually settled down.
These efforts by the Government will enhance overseas employment opportunities for Indians, boost the Skill India Mission and is an important step in realising the PM’s vision of transforming India into the ‘skill capital’ or the ‘human resource capital’ of the world.
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