NRIs wonder: How do I bring my issue to the attention of Sushma Swaraj?

As per some estimates, there are over 30 million NRIs and Persons of Indian origin living overseas. NRIs around the world continue to interact periodically with India and Indian government. Some of the interactions are for routine government services like issuance of passports, OCI, visas etc, and others could be for specific needs like repatriating remains of a loved one who might have passed away in a foreign land.

At the recent Paravarsi Bharitya divas, I attended an interesting Q&A forum where the desi diaspora had an opportunity to highlight their issues to the Indian ministers, diplomats and senior leaders. Sushma Swaraj, the charismatic External Affairs minister was absent as she was recovering after her operation. In her absence, the Minister Of State, V.K. Singh?(Retd Gen.)?chaired the session.

During the session, Gen. Singh made it a point to highlight how the issues faced by NRIs and Overseas Citizen are varied based on their economic strata, the country and region they live in and other geopolitical issues.

His comment was right on the money. The session and questions were wide ranging though the bulk of questions came from representatives from the Gulf and middle-eastern countries. Their issues focused on the recent retrenchment of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, and other issues like repatriation of remains, loved ones in legal trouble due to some incidents etc.

Sushma Swaraj the superhero to the rescue

Indian external affairs ministers like Sushma Swaraj seem to be everywhere on the social media. A sampling of recent articles in the media

NRIs Wonder How do I get Sushma Swaraj to tweet about my issue?

During times of crisis, many of us would want a speedy resolution to our issues or at least highlight the issue to the media and seek attention. Many of us without the ?contacts? in government or media might wonder how some people end up getting the attention of Indian leaders and officials?

Although there is no cookie-cutter approach to short-circuiting the system, some folks have deliberately or accidentally stumbled on social-media hacks and viral-marketing techniques to make sure their concern goes viral.

  1. Write a well-worded summary of the issue. Post it on Facebook and other forums like change.org
  2. Tweet continually about the issue. Use different phrases for a well worded tweet, linking to the facebook or change.org page
  3. Make sure the tweets are also copied to Sushma Swaraj, MEA etc (@MEAIndia ?@SushmaSwaraj)
  4. Get all your friends, colleagues and others to
    • “Like” the Facebook link, and comment on it
    • Sign and comment on the Change.org petition
    • Make sure others retweet your tweets
    • Forward the link to others
  5. When you get a few hundred (or thousands) of likes and re-tweets of your tweets and Facebook writeup, approach the Indian media
    • if the tweet is really popular, the media might themselves pick it up
    • Times of India, The Hindu, Hindustan times, Deccan Herald, Deccan Cornicle, NDTV and others are continually looking for NRI stories, especially stories that go ?viral?
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