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India to set up five PIO universities for its diaspora

Sunday June 12, 2011 11:42:46 AM, Gurmukh Singh, IANS

Toronto: The Indian government will set up five PIO universities in the country to cater to the diaspora students of Indian origin.

Announcing this at the just concluded mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Didar Singh, secretary in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, said," The Indian government proposes to set up five PIO universities in different cities to deepen its connectivity with the diaspora. Bangalore is one of them. ''

He said, "The idea was proposed two years ago. These universities will be set up under the Innovation Universities Bill which has been introduced in the Indian parliament. This is an interesting concept as the focus of these universities will be only on innovation. Students won't be bothered about passing exams or marks.''

Didar Singh said, "They will be full-fledged universities built in public-private partnership and fifty percent seats in these institutions will be set aside for students from the Indian diaspora.''

According to him, PIO universities were in addition to many other steps India has undertaken to connect its diaspora with their ancestral land.

"We are already running some programmes - like Know India Programme and Study India Programme - for the diaspora youth to know India. PIO universities are part of our on-going commitment to the diaspora.''

The Indian official said PIO universities will serve as a platform for the diaspora youth not only to reconnect with their roots but also acquire excellent education and professional skills.

"We have also noted that reverse migration (to India) is a reality and we have to take note of that. We are pleased that the second and third generation (of the diaspora) are looking at India,'' he said.

Recalling the "relations of benign neglect" between India and its diaspora till the 1980s, T.P. Sreenivasan, former Indian permanent representative at the UN, said, "The diaspora and India discovered each other in during Rajiv Gandhi's time. Now things have changed as the diaspora and India look to each other.''

The two-day mini PBD, which ended here Friday, was attended by over 500 delegates from Canada, the US and the Caribbean.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at




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