Jaipur, Jan 9: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has urged non-resident Indian (NRI) entrepreneures to increase investment in India, saying the the economic engagement of the diaspora was not been upto the potential so far.
"We have not yet reaped the full benefits of India's great diaspora. The most obvious area remains that of investment and entrepreneurship," Mukherjee said while addressing the 10th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas annual diaspora meet here.
The finance minister pointed out that flow of foreign direct investment in the countries like China had been mostly by the Chinese living overseas, while in case of India, it was not upto that level.
"I am aware that there have been large ticket investments by non-resident Indian entrepreneurs. But I think it is far less than the potential and perhaps too concentrated on the formal sector," he said.
"Rather, we must pursue an alternative model. One that is more balanced and holistic in a socio-economic sense," he added.
Mukherjee said the entrepreneurial skills of the Indian business community settled abroad were a matter of envy for other nations.
"Foreign firms are increasingly aware of the sharp business acumen of the Indian entrepreneur and managers. They have come to respect our business houses and practices," he said.
The finance minister said India was emerging as a major player in global economic affairs and talents and entrepreneurship of its citizens were widely recognised.
"We are widely recognized as a major driver of global growth. India is a member of the G20 and, within the G20, it is considered a part of the systemically most important 7," he said.
Mukherjee said migration of people should not be regarded as a "brain drain".
"The movement of the diaspora is no longer unidirectional as it was in the past. What started as a brain drain, has now become a brain gain, not just for India but the world as a whole," he said.
Almost 30 million Indian diaspora live in over 130 countries across the world. The finance minister said movement of people from India has helped in growth and development of the country.
"When in the 1970s a large number of highly qualified Indians were moving abroad, we were warned of the severe consequences of the brain drain. Contrary to conventional, and in hindsight myopic opinions, luckily we made no attempt to stop the flow. Today we are better off due to that," he said.