India’s diaspora community – a wealthy, upwardly mobile class
Non-Resident Indians are famed the world over for being an exemplary migrant group in whichever host countries they set up base in. India’s affinity for IT, science, academia, and business has translated into high white-collar employment rates. This, combined with ‘traditional Indian values’ has also resulted in low crime involvement and peaceful assimilation, has drawn praise from international communities.
The NRI success story
People of Indian Origin (PIO) in Britain contribute 5% of the nation’s GDP, despite being 1.8 % of the population. In Q4 2015, analysts noted that Indian-Americans have a combined annual income of $67.4 billion. despite being only 1.9 million in population.
With their financial success, most NRI’s dutifully transmit a large amount of remittances back home. According to a conservative estimate, $70 billion (Rs. 4.2 lakh crores) is the sum that Indians abroad send back home, every year. As this remittance is in the form of dollars (US and Australian) and Pounds, it adds to India’s forex reserves, substantially reducing currency risks.
The significance of the diaspora community to India
High remittance volumes are just one of the many examples of how much Indians abroad do care about people back home, and their concerns aren’t limited to just their immediate family members and loved ones. NRIs have played a prominent role in assisting India’s non-government initiatives in developmental, educational and social projects. It isn’t rare to see the most affluent NRIs launch schools and colleges in their ancestral villages and towns.
Diaspora communities have one thing in common – their love for their ethnic identities, their roots. For Indians who have had to struggle their way to success in the West, this love transcends pop culture (e.g. Bollywood), Indian food and fashion. When they seek to give back to the hometowns where they have formative memories, many look to ensuring that every dollar makes a difference.
How NRIs decide to support an NGO
For an NRI, an organization like Save the Children is a top choice, as it is a globally recognised and respected organisation that also knows how to ‘work local’. The NGO’s child rights achievements and deep involvement, in India and the world over are prominently profiled in the media regularly, and the NGO enjoys the respect of leading personalities, civil society, the media, and corporation – all critical stakeholders.
Why NRIs donate to NGOs like Save the Children?
Save the Children goes beyond just immediate aid and poverty reduction, but it also offers on-ground training to bring about societal change. The NGO’s presence as an agent of policy change and economic growth is recognised internationally, and it has established social and political capital to ensure policies are followed through with action, making it an obvious choice for NGOs. Save the Children is known for transparency in donation spending, and has spent a substantial number of donations on programmes to fight child exploitation across India.
The NGO has been formally deemed as a charitable institution of worth by the Indian government, via eligibility under Section 80-G of Income Tax Act. Donations to Save The Children can be claimed while filing the ITR (Income Tax Return), by NRIs.
It has withdrawn 50,000 children from domestic help in 2015, and rescued 9337 children from child labour, in pan-India ongoing relief and rescue missions. In 2014, the NGO’s Child Protection Programme kept 1.65 lakh children safe from harm (abuse, neglect, exploitation, physical danger and violence). Save the Children’s No Child Must Die philosophy saved 4.29 lakh Indian children in 2014 by fighting infant and child mortality, in sync with grassroots centres like their Malnutrition Treatment Center.
Present in 120 countries, Save the Children focuses on education and a new life for millions of children affected by armed conflict and exploitation, creating a stronger voice for them, becoming the world’s leading response agency for children worldwide, and training and informing communities on child-focussed preparedness in times of crisis.
The Indian diaspora has been a prominent contributor to Save the Children’s causes. However, the lack of a sustained civil society outreach to the NRIs is needed. The Indian diaspora can definitely benefit NGOs like Save the Children with not only financial support, but also technical know-how.
Save the Children has a dedicated channel for NRI donations – these are put into ‘unrestricted funding’, to sponsor its most critical programmes, and helping the poor, vulnerable children of India. Save the Children currently offers a one-time donation policy to NRIs, which means that it is advisable to donate a substantial corpus of money to fund these humanitarian programmes.