Jul 13, 2008
Karnataka Chief Minister Mr B S Yedyurappa has recently announced setting up of a NRI Cell headed by Captain Ganesh Karnik, BJP MLC representing Graduates Constituency from Mangalore.
In a conversation with Daijiworld Capt Karnik delineates what this NRI Cell is all about.
Excerpts from exclusive interview of Capt Ganesh Karnik by Daijiworld's Florine Roche and Walter Nandalike:
Can you tell us what this NRI Cell is all about?
Karnataka state earlier had a FDI Cell and there was also a Diaspora Cell. But there were no tangible results. During the recent elections our party had some interaction with Gujarath Chief Minister Mr Narendra Modi who has done a marvelous job in linking NRI‘s with the state government. This new NRI Cell set up by Karnataka Government is going to provide the crucial link between the government and the NRI community.
What is going to be the modus operandi of this Cell?
Basically we want the NRI’s specially NRI Kannadigas and people from the coastal areas of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, to play a vital role by closely associating themselves in the affairs of the state. This NRI Cell is going to be the social and political face to interact and built a rapport with the NRI community to involve them in the socio, economic and political affairs of the government.
There is a general feeling that the focus of NRI Cell will be mainly on NRI investment…. Is it true?
I am the face of the government. The scope of this organization is going to be definite as the responsibility will be vested in me. Apart from investment we are going to focus on looking after the welfare of the people who are scattered in different parts of the globe. We are not going to look at it only from commercial angle. The main thrust will be on establishing the rapport and the FDI will be inevitable. I believe in human relations especially with people who are working in small sectors abroad.
Do you have any plans to have some kind of reservation exclusively for NRI’s in educational institutions?
I know NRI’s have difficulties in finding admission to various professional colleges. Reservation is a kind of policy matter and the Supreme Court has fixed the limit. Since I am a part of a private institution I can understand that private institutions need to financially break-even. I also know that earlier it was NRI’s who had to bear the load in terms of huge fees. I may not be able to say anything about reservation at this juncture but will do whatever possible.
Do you have any specific plans for NRI’s of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada?
As I belong to this area I definitely have specific interests in responding to the needs of the people of this coastal area. NRI’s of Karavali area have great affinity to their native place as they don’t forget their habits, culture or moorings. They try to keep in touch with their roots with their motherland and many of them want to involve in the developmental aspects of their native land. I want to make the best use of this attachment for mutual benefit. Actually I have gone through this kind of situation personally as I had to leave the defense force to save our ancestral property. Or else the property would have been disposed of uprooting me from my native place. Now the property is saved and it gives an opportunity for our family to have a get together there once a while. This kind of feelings is seen predominantly among coastal people and the NRI Cell will help in properly canalizing these sentiments.
Q. What is going to be your agenda to make this Cell achieve its primary objective?
We are going to adopt a corporate approach in dealing with issues and we want to work like a team which can be entirely different from the bureaucratic-ridden set up witnessed earlier. Firstly, it is a common knowledge that NRI’s all over the world time and again have been facing problems and we want to cater to their needs and aspirations. Secondly we have been witnessing a reverse trend with a sizeable chunk of the people from abroad opting to come back to their motherland. We want to make it comfortable for them once they return and also would like render whatever help we can after they settle here.
Thirdly we also want to reach to those who want to contribute their mite in terms of investment and participate in the growth and development in varied fields such as education, health care, research and development, technology transfer etc, and provide a proper conduit for their investment. Lastly bureaucratic set up has always been a hindrance when in comes to such policies and we would like to emphasize on a hassle-free milieu for the proper functioning of this Cell.
How are you going to co-ordinate these activities?
Many organizations like Akhila Karnataka Kannadia Association (AKKA) and individuals are getting in touch with me ever since the news of the creation of NRI Cell is published. In fact they are looking for some kind of structure to streamline the entire gambit of activities of NRI’s. Once it happens it is only a matter of time before everything is put in proper perspective.
What do you expect from the NRI’s to strengthen this Cell?
First of all I request them to provide me information so that I can build the database and help me to put them into different groups. For example if a NRI want to contribute towards his native place in terms of adopting a village or sponsoring some meritorious students etc., the Cell can co-ordinate these activities effectively.
Are you going to create a separate email ID so that NRI’s can contact you?
People can directly approach me and also on my individual email ID (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am also going to appoint a person exclusively to co-ordinate and communicate with NRI’s so that proper link is established between the NRI’s and the Government.
What is going to be the success mantra for this NRI Cell?
Apart from knowing what NRI’s can do for us we want to ask them what you want from us. I will just sit and listen and what is possible and permissible we will do immediately. What is not possible to implement immediately we will consider and develop step by step. I need the co-operation so that we can be of some help to our NRI brethren.
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