About Us Diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago

The sub-continent of India contributed about 143,000 indentured workers to Trinidad between 1845 and 1917. A vast majority of these Indian emigrants came from Northern India, mainly from the districts of United Provinces and Bihar. A vast majority of Indian immigrants settled in Trinidad and even now mention with pride the province, district (Zila), fiscal unit (Pargana) and village from where their forefathers came.  

From 1845 onwards, Indian emigrants streamed into the colony on shiploads bound to contractual labour lasting three to five years with an option to return back after the period of indentureship.  Few returned however.  Approximately 134,183 Indians settled in Trinidad during the period 1845 – 1917 (indentured labour emigration to the Caribbean ended in 1917 with passage of enabling British legislation) and their presence made a real difference to the physical and cultural landscape of this nation.  

The relationship between India and Trinidad and Tobago has shifted from a mere manifestation of cultural, religious and historical ties which form part of the Indian heritage consisting of approximately 42 per cent of a population of 1.3 million people, to serious business and economic links premised on agreements and joint venture partnerships, investments in financial services, pharmaceuticals, tourism, medicine, and visibility in conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions. The Indian Diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago has thus graduated from indentureship to entrepreneurship. They constitute business magnates, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, professionals represented in politics, law, medicine, academia and the like.  Perhaps no field of social, cultural, economic and political activity is left uninfluenced by people of Indian descent. 

The other part of the community, NRIs, constitute about 500 families, mostly engaged in business, teaching and professions.  Two Indian PSUs, Bank of Baroda (with 3 branches) and New India Assurance are in operation while Arcelor Mittal, the largest steel plant in the Caribbean, contributes the highest GDP outside of the energy industry, and has a majority share in the Inter-Commercial Bank. Indian companies like Berger Paints and Ranbaxy have a presence.  Besides Indian traders do visit from time to time to organize trade fairs which have made Indian garments, accessories, furniture and handicrafts very popular in the country.

The Diaspora is a formidable force in Trinidad, the largest numerical representation in the entire Caribbean; the most well-to-do and culturally strong and progressive ethnic group in the uniquely plural society of T&T.  They need encouragement and their expectations from India in terms of cultural and emotional engagement and sustenance need to be met so as to reinforce the historical links between our two countries.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)
Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is held from 7-9 January every year in India. The registration for participation is open and can be done on line by visiting Ministry of Overseas Indian Affair’s (MOIA) website www.moia.gov.in and Mission’s website www.hcipos.org. The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention provides a platform to the 25 million strong Overseas Indian Community for exchange of views on ways and means to fulfill their aspirations and expectations from the land of their ancestors. It also provides opportunities for exploring mutually beneficial trade and business relationships and for networking among the community. The yearly celebration symbolizes the continued interest of the government of India in the progress and well-being of the Overseas Indian Community. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs also sponsors PIO journalists to participate in this yearly event with a view to providing insight into the event and also into all round development taking place in India to the PIO who could not participate due to some reason.    

With a view to providing delegates with an opportunity to interact with Cabinet Ministers from India, PIO Ministers/dignitaries and Chief Ministers of various states in India, the MOIA had structured PBD-2010, differently. The Convention had four concurrent sessions on: Investment, Knowledge, Philanthropy and Gender Issues. PBD-2010 also saw launch of an annual Lecture series on the theme of India and its Diaspora: Everlasting Bonds of togetherness besides having Seminars on ‘Nano-Technology” and Property related issues of NRI’s and PIO’s.

Global Indian Network  of Knowledge (Global INK)

The Overseas Indian Citizenship Scheme which was announced in 2006 has elicited an overwhelming response which encouraged the govt.  to introduce better facilities by way of formulating new schemes and initiatives. In this regard, a new initiative called the Global Indian Network of Knowledge (Global INK) was launched by Prime Minister of India during PBD in 2009 along with a comprehensive e-governance project on migration. The Global Indian Knowledge Network will connect people of Indian origin from a variety of disciplines to users at National, state and local levels in India. Under e-governance project every worker will be issued a smart card that will contain all details of the worker, viz. work contact, employer details, his insurance etc.

Financial Services – an overview
The Indian Diaspora is the second largest in the world after China. Its contribution towards India has been in various ways, i.e. remittances, FDI, transfer of knowledge and entrepreneurial networks. In order to expand the entrepreneurial ties and engage them as partners in India’s progress, an Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, a non-profit public private initiative of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Confederation of Indian Industry was launched in May 2007. OIFC has the mandate to cover the areas of investment facilitation, knowledge networking and ensuring business to business partnerships in sectors like real estate, wealth management, taxation, legal, health care, education and infrastructure. Details may be seen on www.moia.gov.in .
The focus of the Financial Services Division is on:
•Facilitating business in India.
•Enabling overseas investors to benefit from the opportunities in India by facilitating appropriate advisory and hand holding services through market driven knowledge partners.
•Catalyzing sustainable B-to-B partnerships between Indian and overseas Indian businesses.
•Enabling value addition to the investible knowledge skills and expertise of overseas Indians.

Diaspora Services:
The Diaspora Services Division of the Ministry deals with all matters related to Overseas Indians, comprising Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) which include organizing Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Conventions and Regional PBDs, conferment of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, dissemination of information concerning admission of NRI/PIO students to various educational, technical and cultural institutions in India and issues related to NRI women. 

The following schemes are run by the Diaspora Services Division:

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) - A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at any time after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that become part of India after 15.08.1947 and his / her children and grand children, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. For further details visit www.mha.nic.in .

Know India Programme (KIP) - The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs conducts a program for Diaspora children called Know India Program. Under this program, children of PIO are sent to different participating states for visiting historical monuments, educational institutions and also have interaction with dignitaries of that state. Selected candidates are refunded 90 percent of the air fare on their return and are also provided with pocket expenses while in India. For more details visit: https://www.hcipos.gov.in/page/dia-kip/ 

Tracing the Roots - It is a programme designed by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to assist Persons of Indian origin in tracing their roots. Persons of Indian origin desirous of tracing their roots in India would be required to fill up the prescribed application form and deposit it with the concerned Indian Mission / Post located in the country of their residence along with a fee of Rs.20,000/- (Rupees Twenty Thousand) in equivalent US Dollar, Euro or any other foreign currency acceptable to the Indian Mission / Post. For further details visit https://www.mea.gov.in/tracing-the-roots.htmwww.hcipos.org
Establishment of PIO/NRI Universities in India - The Ministry of Indian Overseas Affairs has also decided to open PIO / NRI University i.e. to enable PIO and NRI students receive world class education in India on par with the best institutions worldwide. The first such University would be set up in Bangalore by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education Trust. Letter of intent for setting up four more such universities have already been received and MOIA in the process of taking further action on this. For further details visit MOIA’s website: https://www.mea.gov.in/ 

Forms to Download

Tracing the Roots Program