The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Jan 8, 2017

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas

PM Modi kicked off the 14th biennial event to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Afreica to India on 9th Jan and along with it celebrate the millions of overseas Indians.While speaking at the event he encouraged PIO card holders to change to OCI cards and announced the expiration of the former to be changed to June 30 this year. Portuguese PM Antonio Costa was also invited who is currently on a seven day visit. India earlier this week also signed six pacts including one for defense cooperation.

The Union Budget: to postpone or not

The central government scheduled this year's budget to be floored on Feb 1st just 4 days before the state elections in Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Several opposition parties like Congress, TMC, DMK had met with the Election Commission to postpone the Union budget to March 8th, so that its after the final phase of polling in all states and so that the BJP doesn't gain undue advantage from the Budget. The Government however dismissed this reasoning and said it will stick to 1st Feb. The Government defended the decision stating it was taken well ahead of time with the primary intention being that the new provisions come into force from April 1, the beginning of the new fiscal instead of a month later in May.

Dhoni steps down as captain

Last week M.S.Dhoni announced that he will be stepping down as the captain of the Indian cricket team for the limited overs formats ODI and T20's. Since then tributes have been pouring in from his colleagues, ex-cricketers, BCCI, commemorating his achievements. BCCI also announced that Virat Kohli would succeed him as the captain in both limited overs format of the game. It also picked Dhoni as a wicket keeper batsman as it announced the playing 11 for the upcoming series with England.

Opinions you must read:

  • This Indian Express editorial suggests radical reforms are necessary for addressing crimes against women.
  • P Chidambaram questions the dominance of the government over RBI particularly pertaining to demonitization.

Chart of the Week

January 9th, 2017 is the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Traveling Indian Day not Traveling Indian Female Singers). It will be held in Bangalore and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in attendance. January 9th was picked to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa. The day celebrates Indian expatriates and people of Indian origin around the world- the huge community that spreads the country's soft cultural power and sends home hard cash.

With this day around the corner, we thought we might examine just how many Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are there around the world. Turns out, a lot. Over 27 million actually. This week's chart shows countries that have over 100,000 NRIs and PIOs.

Not surprisingly, the United States comes out on top. With almost 4 million of them living in the US, NRI's and PIO's comprise of 1.25% of the entire population. In Saudi Arabia, the 3 million Indians are 10% of the Kingdoms's population. In the UAE however, the 2.9 million Indians represent a whopping 31% of the wealthy emirate's 9 million population.

Malaysia, Nepal, the UK, and South Africa are next on the list. These countries represent migration from India over a much longer period of time than the US, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. Canda and Myanmar round out the top 10. As you can see from the rest of the list, it is a mix of developed western and developing nations. Indians have chosen to travel far and wide for an opportunity to earn an attractive living. However, as growth at home has hit a more sustainable rate, immigration has slowed down in recent years.