Some 25 million people of Indian origin do not live in India, according to the country’s ministry of overseas affairs. The Indian government recognizes them as People of Indian Origin (PIO). A high-profile subset of this group (though, strictly speaking, it is a classification for tax status) is the Non-resident Indian (NRI), which is loosely considered to mean Indians who have emigrated in recent times. Their ranks include many highly successful scientists, entrepreneurs and corporate executives, including PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and Google chief business officer Nikesh Arora.
During the recent Wharton India Economic Forum, participants in a panel titled, “NRI: Leveraging Your Roots,” discussed how people with this designation can use their Indian roots and the resources at hand to build successful careers both in India and abroad. They also discussed the social and economic challenges this group faces, and, at a time when India’s growth rate has slowed, what kind of role NRIs might play in enabling India’s further emergence as a global economic leader.