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Appoint Two NRIs to India’s Upper House - suggests Praful Patel

NEW DELHI India -- The Indian diaspora should have at least two representations in the Rajya Sabha, the House of Elders in the Indian Parliament, says Praful Patel, a long standing leader of British Asians, writes Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.

The Congress government had appointed an advisory committee of distinguished NRIs for consultation, advice and proposals.

During its annual meetings, a number of suggestions were made but there was no major impact as their recommendations were not made public, says Patel.

When these meetings took place, how many members took part and what they contributed was not publicized to the diaspora, Patel complains.

Patel believes that with the considerable emphasis on the diaspora by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever since he took office, a continued input from NRIs to the national debate and matters of their concerns is now necessary and important.

"As far as my memory serves right, there were two NRI members appointed to Rajya Sabha under the President’s quota by the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru," said Patel in a written interview to The Indian Diaspora.

"Two members served for six years.

"I am not aware if further appointments were made, but the precedent does exist that the President can appoint 12 members to the Rajya Sabha, which he does.

"From this quota, he could appoint two NRI members every term."

"Billions of US$ are invested and deposited in India by NRIs ($70 billion to India in 2014).


Praful Patel, a long standing leader of British Asians community | Coastweek

London UK -- Praful Patel, a long standing leader of British Asians community.

"On three occasions in the nineties the NRIs came to the rescue of the Indian government. when they badly needed foreign exchange.

"But who cares?

"The Indian establishment is doing lip service to NRIs since the early eighties.

"Please look at China’s example and all that India needs to do is to replicate the Chinese example of how Overseas Chinese have become a part of People’s Republic of China.

"Now NRIs have got new and increased importance by PM Modi.

"Why only give just two NRIs Rajya Sabha seats; they should actually think of appointing 10 NRIs from different regions of the world and from all fields of expertise."

"How can NRI representatives in the Rajya Sabha contribute to public debate on Indian issues and especially those that concern NRIs?

"An NRI Consultative Committee was set up by the late Rajiv Gandhi in the mid-eighties which existed for six years of which I was a member.

"The then Reserve Bank governor, Manmohan Singh (who later became Prime Minister), brought about huge reforms in the investment policies relating to NRIs.

"This committee had 36 members representing NRIs from various regions, apex Indian trade and industry bodies and the government.

"It did some valuable work.

"If the current government decides to appoint NRI representatives in Rajya Sabha," said Patel, "then such appointees should be non-partisan and their roles should be same as current 12 appointees of the President."




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