Goa to strengthen ties with diaspora

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) Goa is following in the footsteps of Kerala to engage with its non-residents who make up at least one-third of the state’s 1.5 million population and contribute substantially to the Goan economy.

Eduardo Faleiro, Goa commissioner for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), who is the man behind the efforts, hopes the efforts will best serve the interests of the state.

Faleiro said he is happy with the ‘positive’ response from Non-Resident Goans (NRGs) to the work and study his office has done and for the cooperation from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA).

‘The response is very positive. And what the MOIA is doing for the diaspora and NRIs is a matter to be appreciated, the way they have reached out and how it is well received,’ Faleiro, a former union minister, told IANS during a visit to the capital.

His office will interact with overseas Goans on a sustained basis to identify areas of mutual concern, address the needs of Goans overseas by providing an institutional platform and formulating appropriate policies and also strengthen the bond between Goa and the overseas Goans by recognising their achievements.

The Goa Commissioner’s office has issued 500 Goa Cards to Goan expatriates across the world in two years on request and payment of Rs.250. The Goa card holders will get faster and better attention from government departments and offices.

Goa is also the second state after Kerala to have conducted a scientific migration study to understand and deal with irregular migration and exploitation of NRGs.

A Goa scholarship programme for diaspora children is formulated by the commissioner’s office for the benefit of the wards of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and NRGs.

The commissioner’s office has also initiated the Know Goa Programme to acquaint youth of the Goan diaspora with the state and its culture.

On Faleiro’s request, the Indian government has delegated powers to the state for authentication of educational certificates from Goan academic institutions.

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