Overseas ministry to merge with MEA

Overseas ministry to merge with MEA

The government is set to merge the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved merger of the two ministries in accordance with a proposal from his Cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj, who at present holds both the portfolios.

“Hon’ble Prime Minister has kindly accepted my proposal. So MOIA (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) will now be part of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA),” Swaraj posted on Twitter on Thursday. 

The MOIA was set up as a separate ministry in 2004 with the objective of connecting Indian diaspora worldwide with India. Swaraj is the first Union minister to be assigned the portfolios of both MEA and MOIA.

“As Minister for External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs, I realised that substantial work of MOIA (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) is done through our missions abroad,” she tweeted.

The MOIA has been holding the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January every year as a flagship event for connecting with the Indian diaspora.

The government in October 2014 announced major change in the format of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which would now be held every alternate year with smaller events focused on outcomes to be held every other year.

External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that administrative process for decision to merge the MOIA with MEA was taken in line with the government’s “overall objective of minimising government and maximising governance”.

He said that the process of merger had already begun and the exercise was being personally supervised by the External Affairs Minister.

Swaraj will deliver the keynote address on the occasion of first smaller scale Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi on Saturday.

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