The ‘emotional appeal’ by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to contribute for India Development Foundation for Overseas Indians (IDFOI) was frowned upon by some delegates at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
Following a presentation by MEA Joint Secretary Vani Rao, businessman Vignesh Shishir questioned why the Indian government is seeking funds from Non-Resident Indians. “The government has enough funds. Why does it require NRIs to donate for ‘Namami Ganga’ or ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’? They have struggled hard to generate wealth. Don’t be dependent on NRIs,” he said.
During the presentation, Vani Rao said that IDFOI was “for Indian diaspora to play a larger role in social issues of our country.”
Assets created using the funds donated by NRIs will be acknowledged and projects in sanitation, education and healthcare will be taken up, she said.
There are facilities available in the IDFOI platform to donate for projects of their choice or government schemes or to the ‘IDF pool’. The minimum donation amount for the IDF pool was $100.
Responding to a question raised by Vignesh, MEA Secretary Dnyaneshwar Mulay said that IDFOI was a voluntary effort. “It is to ensure that NRIs have a connect with India. There has been repeated requests for such a channel before it was implemented,” he said. Donating on the channel will ensure transparency and accountability for the NRI funds, he added.