Sticking to one of the poll promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2014 elections of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’, the government has decided to merge the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with the Ministry of External Affairs. The MEA will now look after the affairs of the MOIA.
While External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was in-charge of the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry as well, the administration of both the ministries was different. The MOIA is focused on the welfare of the 25-million strong Indian diaspora, settled across continents and countries. The MOIA provides information, partnerships and facilitations for all matters related to Overseas Indians that include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).
Mrs Swaraj had requested Mr Modi to merge both the ministries as substantial work of MOIA was done through India’s diplomatic missions overseas. In a series of tweets, Mrs Swaraj announced the merger of the two ministries. “As Minister for External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs , I realized that Substantial work of MOIA is done through our missions abroad,” Mrs Swaraj said. “Therefore, I proposed to Hon’ble Prime Minister that MOIA should be merged with Ministry of External Affairs. Hon’ble Prime Minister has kindly accepted my proposal. So MOIA will now be part of Ministry of External Affairs,” she added.
The MOIA was established in May 2004 as the Ministry of Non-Resident Indians’ Affairs after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance came to power, and in September 2004 it was renamed as the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA). The ministry has four functional service divisions comprising diaspora services, financial services, emigration services and management services.
The MOIA also sponsors the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which brings together NRIs and PIOs at a conclave in India.
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