1. Prologue
  2. Diaspora Basics
  3. Diaspora: Region/country specific
  4. Diaspora: Schemes/Yearbook
  5. Diaspora polity
  6. Diaspora: “Hot topics”
    1. Current Affairs: Issues Affecting Diaspora
    2. Diaspora Person in New (PIN)
  7. Make notes simultaneously
  8. Appendix-I: Diaspora Qs in previous mains
    1. PBD related
    2. Diaspora Polity
    3. Diaspora Yearbook related
    4. Diaspora Region/Country wise
    5. Diaspora Current Affairs related (of that era)
    6. Diaspora Static/essay-ish questions
    7. Diaspora Economy related
  9. Appendix II: Free Studymaterial for Indian Diaspora


The International Relations (IR) topics under new UPSC Mains syllabus (GS2), can be broadly classified into following groups

  1. India’s Relations/agreements:
    1. with our neighbors
    2. with non-neighbors
    3. with associations/regional/global-groups of countries
  2. International institutions, agencies: structure, Mandate
  3. Diaspora

This article focuses only on the diaspora. We’ll look into remaining IR topics in other articles, later.

What was the aukaat of Diaspora topic before 2013?

  • In the earlier times, at most single big question (10-12 or more marks) and a few PINs (Persons in news for 2 marks).
  • Sometimes you could simply skip the topic (e.g. attempt any 3 out of 4 questions.)
  • In some years, UPSC did not ask anything from diaspora.

How is Diaspora Syllabus changed in 2013?

As per the syllabus from official notifications of 2012 vs 2013 we can see that

Upto 2012 Mains 2013
The Indian Diaspora and its contribution to India and the world. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

So now what to prepare and from where to prepare?

Diaspora Basics

  • For the basics/overview, do a selective reading of IGNOU MA Sociology Course MSOE-002: Diaspora and Transnational Communities.
  • Entire set download link given @bottom. @Hindi medium aspirant, sorry Egaynkosh hasn’t uploaded it Hindi medium, yet.

Let’s look at the list of high-priority chapters/topics from this MSOE-002 PDF set.

Chapter in MSOE-002 Why important?
Unit-5 Indian Emigration During Colonial Rule Indirectly important from GS1: World History=> colonialism.
Unit-14 Immigration and Emigration Policies and their Implications
  • immigration policies (because syllabus itself says): Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • and keep your self-updated with the new immigration policies, from newspaper/internet. (Particularly for US, UK, EU).
Unit-17 Indian Diaspora-Homeland Linkages More Focus on

  1. Diaspora finance topic: FDI, remittances, business networks etc. + from newspapers, keep yourself updated regarding QFI, NRI remittance, FCNR etc. things for economy section.
  2. political connection (indirectly important for NRI voting rights issue under polity syllabus.)
Unit-19 Films
  • It’s on Bollywood and diaspora.
  • Although usually unimportant but 2013 marks hundred years of Indian Cinema, and you know the rule: whenever someone /something’s birth/death anniversary is in the multiple of 10,15 or 25 then it is important for the exam. And who knows, some essay might come as well!

Now moving to peripheral chapters from that set

  • Ch. 4: for getting the basic historical overview
  • 6: Post independence migration
  • 15: Nehru and Gandhi’s legacy and Diaspora
  • 22, 23 and 24: from Essay point of view.

It doesn’t mean other chapters are not worth reading. They too contain fodder for essay and interview. (+answers for past mains questions) But whether it’ll be useful for the next exam or not? Well, that depends on your good/badluck with UPSC.

Diaspora: Region/country specific

map diaspora distribution

  • Official syllabus focuses on “effects of policies and politics of foreign countries on Indian diaspora”. Besides the way question trend is moving in past few years, the chances of getting direct questions like “Write a note Contribution of Indian Diaspora in Fiji”= extremely low.
  • Nevertheless, you need to have some idea on distribution of diaspora across various regions and what do they do there, to see a bigger picture of how xyz thing is affecting them.
  • The same MSOE-002 PDF set: chapter 7 to 13, contains info on Indian diaspora in various countries/regions. (Compiled ZIP file in the appendix I of this article).
  • Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, also uploaded PDFs on Indian Diaspora in various countries. (again Compiled ZIP file in the appendix I of this article).
  • But should you prepare all the countries? Of Couse one has to consider the time-energy constrains. The Important ones are:
    • USA, UK=all season favorite.
    • Middle East: Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Oman etc. mainly due to labor issues
    • remaining = based on your time, energy and mood.

For the MOIA set, don’t read those pdfs word by word like it some board exam. Just focus on following areas:

  1. Some fodder points that can be used in an essay themed around globalization/world is village etc. for example Indian contribution in building Silicon Valley.
  2. Problems/concerns/issues faced by our diaspora in that country.
  3. Any bilateral agreements/schemes on social security, etc.

Talking about schemes, let’s move on to:


from India 2013 (Yearbook) or Bharat 2013 , prepare following topics/schemes.

Ch.No Page No. Topic
18 518 Indian diaspora
18 520 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-PBD (The 2013’s summit already discussed in earlier article: click me)
18 512 bilateral Social Security agreements.
18 516 consulates, passport, visa service
18 519 overseas citizenship (for polity topic)
18 512 Know India program.
21 685 labour: International workers: special provisions in India. (for the IR>>bilateral relation topic)
  • If you have old edition (India 2012), then just dig google (particularly pib.nic.in and MOIA websites), and you’ll get those topics.
  • But above list is not exhaustive. Because new schemes keep coming up.
  • Recall the “interval” in my article on [Economic Survey Ch13] Human Development (Part 3 of 4). A new scheme was launched for diaspora:

Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY)

  • by Ministry of Overseas Indian
  • for the Overseas Indian workers having Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports.
  • feature is similar to Swavalamban: you subscribe to NPS-lite then Government will make some contribution in your account.
  • Free life insurance as long as you work in ECR country.
  • Implemented via Bank of Baroda and LIC.

Another scheme (under consideration)

Diaspora bonds

  • India is considering introduction of “diaspora bonds”
  • It provides long-term investment facility to the diaspora.
  • Their money will go in developing infrastructure sector in India.

Therefore, keep an eye on the pib.nic.in (via feedly) as well as newspapers.

Diaspora polity

Although there is no such topic called “diaspora polity” in the official syllabus hahaha but nonetheless following topics should be prepared:

  1. NRI vs PIO difference, given in the given in the Citizenship chapter of Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth OR Bharat ki Rajyavyavastha by M.Laxmikanth
  2. NRI voting rights related issues= pib.nic.in + Hindu/Indianexpress (IE)
  3. Bill to protect women deserted by NRI husbands=Hindu/IE (+PRSindia.org if and when bill is uploaded)

Diaspora: “Hot topics”

These are the topics predicted/ prepared by people based on their past observation/hunch. For example,

Year Diaspora region why was it a hot topic?
2000 Fiji Coup/constitutional crisis. Indian origin PM Mahendra Chaudhry was ousted, Mass emigration of Indian diaspora because of persecutions.
2006 Lebanon Operation Sukoon to rescue Indians during Israel–Hezbollah War.
2007 Malaysia Demolition of Hindu temple, Large-scale protest by Indians.
2010 Trinidad and Tobago’s Indian origin Kamla Persad-Bissessar became PM.
2011 Libya Due to Operation Blossom to rescue Indians.
2011-12 middle-east For the ongoing uprisings.

But (If I recall correctly), none of the above diaspora questions were asked in the Mains papers of the respective years, except the Fiji crisis (2000).

A more recent example is SABLA. No matter which coaching material you read, which magazine you picked up, which website you opened (including mine lolz)….there was SABLA,SABLA and SABLA, as if there was nothing else to prepare. Still UPSC ignored SABLA in Prelims 2013. But there could be another reason (/conspiracy theory) for that= since government forced UPSC to undo some of the changes in Mains 2013 (regarding medium and Litt.) so, UPSC felt disrespected and wanted to do a tit-for-tat. And what could be a better show of disrespect to UPA Government, than not asking about a scheme named after Rajiv Gandhi!

Anyway jokes apart, UPSC seems to follow an unwritten rule that if a topic becomes “too hot” then don’t ask anything. Although it doesn’t mean we should totally neglect those hot topics because still you might have to face them during the interviews +/- could use it as fodder points in the Essay.

So what could be the hot topics under Diaspora for Mains 2013, GS Paper II?

Current Affairs: Issues Affecting Diaspora

Focus country/region Issue affecting Indian Diaspora:


  • Ethnic problems/protests, Indians are minorities.
  • Hindraf (Hindu right action force) leader was made Deputy PM in 2013.



  • As per the Sharia law, a family member of the victim can pardon the accused if the latter pays the blood money.
  • Seventeen Indians, who had been on death row in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the murder of a Pakistani national, have been released after they paid blood money of $1 million.
  • This money was collected via charity, Punjab Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).


Pregnant Indian lady dentist died because Ireland’s law did not permit abortion. Led to a lot of uproar.


That child abuse and child custody case, where our MEA/Krishna tried a lot to fix it.


Nitaqat law. It is aims to replacing a large section of overseas workers with locals in Saudi Arabia. Overseas workers from Kerala, TN etc. affected.


Gurudwara shooting, Tri-Valley university visa scam. Professional Visa, outsourcing related issues.


Visa curb on students, doubt taxation avoidance agreement.

South East Asia

Because 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of India-ASEAN dialogue. FTA in service-investment was signed.

in Mauritius

Because Pravasi Bharatiya divas 2013’s chief guest was Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag. (Although this line of thinking/prediction has proved clichéd and useless for past 3 years!)

In Turkey
middle east

Because of ongoing uprisings/protests. (Although this line of thinking/prediction has proved clichéd and useless for past 3 years!)

Above list is not exhaustive. If you’ve additional topics, please list in the comment below.

Anyway, How to prepare the topics listed above?

Dig the websites of Hindu and Indianexpress (in terms of both news report articles as well as columns/editorials). In most of the cases you’ll have sufficient points/content to detail a 12-15 marks worth question. If not, then dig Google further. But Avoid the temptation to do Ph.D on any diaspora (current affairs) topic. Reasons are following:

  • When you do Ph.D on one topic, you are left with less time to prepare other topics.
  • When you know 50 points about a topic (because of your Ph.D) but the question usually asks 12-15 marks worth content, then becomes difficult to prioritize which points to write and which points to skip during the exam.
  • In such a situation, often, candidates end up over crossing the word limit to write all the points they know, (hoping that it’d fetch more marks), but instead it harms them because they’re left with less time/energy to write the remaining answers.

Diaspora Person in New (PIN)

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Ami Bera, Judge Srinivasan et al.
  • In Mains 2012, UPSC asked PIN for only 1 marks each and that too only for paper I(=not from diaspora)
  • Although it doesn’t hurt maintaining a PIN list, while you’re reading the newspaper, because diaspora-related PIN still important for RBI, SSC, IBPS, State PSC, etc. exams that you might be preparing simultaneously.
  • + As a fodder point, if diaspora/India and globalization themed essay is asked.

Make notes simultaneously

when October/November comes, you’ll have 500 other things to read and revise. Then you’ll not have sufficient time to go through entire PDFs/newspapers again for second revision. Therefore, whenever you read about diaspora from any PDF/newspaper/book, simultaneously prepare summeries/notes/mindmaps on the very same day. Because No revision=low recalling power in the exam hall=low score=#epicfail.

Appendix-I: Diaspora Qs in previous mains

Following list is not exhaustive because:

  1. I might have missed some questions.
  2. I’ve ignored diaspora Person In News (PIN) related Qs

PBD related

  1. What is the significance of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in modern India?
  2. Why was January 9 chosen to observe the NRI (Pravasi Bharatiya Divas) Day?

Diaspora Polity

  1. Categorize the People of Indian Origin (PIO).
  2. What is the distinction between ‘Non-Resident Resident Indian’ and ‘People of Indian origin’?

Diaspora Yearbook related

  1. Write about Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana, 2006.
  2. Write about Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
  3. Write about Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.
  4. What was India Millennium Deposit Scheme?
  5. Name the nodal agency that deals with issues relating to Indians abroad and explain its main task.
  6. What efforts are being made by Indian Government to look after NRIs?
  7. Council for promotion of overseas employment
  8. Overseas citizenship of India scheme.
  9. Know India program.

Diaspora Region/Country wise

  1. Write about Indian Diaspora in Singapore.
  2. Indians in the House of Lords, UK
  3. Contribution of the NRIs to GCC countries
  4. Assess the contributions of Indian diaspora in the Caribbean.
  5. Contribution of Indians in Silicon Valley

Diaspora Current Affairs related (of that era)

  1. Future of Indians in Fiji
  2. future of expatriates in the gulf
  3. Why is Fiji crisis of May 19, 2000 a specific concern for India?
  4. Mention few NRIs who have brought name and fame for India.
  5. What does the Global organization of people of Indian origin stand for?

Diaspora Static/essay-ish questions

  1. Write about Indian Diaspora and Bollywood
  2. Why do NRIs retain their emotional attachment to India?
  3. What are the problems NRIs have to face if they decide to settle in India?
  4. Point out the difference between the Jewish -Diaspora and the Indian Diaspora.
  5. In what fields have NRIs excelled in the developed countries?
  6. Write a short analytical note on Indian Diaspora. How is the “New Diaspora” different from the “Old Diaspora”?
  7. In what ways did Idi Amin make life difficult for the people of Indian origin in his country?
  8. Exodus of persons of Indian origin from Uganda

Diaspora Economy related

  1. Under what conditions are NRIs permitted to remit deposits in India in any currency of their choice?
  2. What has been the impact of Gulf remittances on India’s economy?
  3. In which specialties Indians are most wanted abroad?
  4. What is the contribution of the NRIs to India’s development?
  5. How can NRIs be attracted to invest in India?
  6. What is Brain drain?
  7. What is reverse migration?
  8. What are the references made to the NRI in the Union Budget July 2004?
  9. What is the impact of economic sanctions against India on NRIs?
  10. Examine the role of NRIs in the liberalization process of India.

Appendix II: Free Studymaterial for Indian Diaspora

Item Download link
IGNOU MA Sociology Course MSOE-002Diaspora and Transnational Communities. Click Me
Indian Diaspora abroadPDFs of Ministry of Overseas India Affairs Click ME


  1. Majority of these PDF files provides direct copying of text. => That means you can use Mrunal’s autonotemaker to quickly make notes and mindmaps out of it, just use mouse cursor to highlight a particular line /phrase and my software will copy its text in a separate file. for more instructions click me
  2. Foxit PDF reader. (necessary prerequisite for using Mrunal’s autonotemaker) click me