State Strategies of Differentiated Citizenship: India’s Diaspora Engagement Policy

Author:   Diksha Jha
Publisher:   Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism
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GRFDT Research Monograph VII


The nature of emigrant or diasporic citizenshipassumes a differentiated form depending on how the state of origin choses to engage with its diaspora residing in different parts of the world, having different migration history, and possessing different skill levels. This paper attempts at undertaking an analysis of the Indian state’s policy vis-à-vis its diaspora. The two categories of diaspora taken for the purpose of analysis are the Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) belonging to the high skilled and professional class residing in the developed states; and the short term emi-grants who belong to the category of migrant workers going (to the Gulf states) for temporary employment. Though the Indian workforce is employed for temporary contracts in different parts of the world, this paper in particular choses the Gulf states as the employment state. These two categories have been purposively chosen to illustrate the Indian state’s differentiated nature of engagement with both of them. It has been argued that the Indian government’s dias-pora policy has a differentiated impact on citizenship statuses for these two categories. As re-gards the first category, the state remains extremely responsive and makes numerous efforts to chase them well enough in order to invite their economic contributions. The second category which constitutes the short term emigrant workforce of the lesser skilled order, in addition to being a lesser citizen at home, experiences state’s apathy and lack of concern in the emigration context when they experience gross violation of rights in the Gulf states. The research method-ology consists of both primary and secondary sources. The wide ranging secondary (scholarly) literature on emigration, citizenship has been backed by primary sources like interviews (largely semi-structured), citing anecdotal evidences from the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (attended by the author in January 2014). 


About Author 

Diksha Jha is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University. This paper is based on her M.Phil Dissertation titled “Differentiated State Strategies of Citizenship and the Indian Diaspora” that was submitted to Jawaharlal Nehru University in July 2014 under the supervision of Prof.Niraja Gopal Jayal (Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU). The author completed her M.A. in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and B.A. (hons) in Political Sci-ence from Sri Venkateswara College, DU. The major areas of interests of the author includes, Migration studies, Diaspora, Citizenship, Governance. The author has presented papers on the above mentioned themes in national conferences and seminars. Her Doctoral research would focus on inter-state rural to urban migration in India and the citizenship issues involved in it. 

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