Nearly 12 years after it was set up to improve engagement with the Indian Diaspora; the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) was merged with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in early January. The merger has incited dissent from the Indian emigrant bodies, associations, and NRIs, especially in Dubai and other countries.
Among the bodies that have objected to the merger is the Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC), which declared in Dubai that the group office bearers with the collaboration of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will meet the Indian PM Narendra Modi to discuss the issue. According to the former overseas Keralite Affairs Minister MM Hassan, “scrapping the overseas affairs ministry is like cutting off the head to cure a headache, as the Ministry of External Affairs is inaccessible and for the general expatriate community the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was considered a ministry at which they presented their affairs and sought refuge in several instances”.
The Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had also asked the Indian government to reconsider their decision. He said the decision will curb opportunities for the Kerala government to intervene in problems and work for the welfare of Malayalis living in foreign countries. In a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala CM said the "abrupt" decision to merge the ministries was taken without "consultation or any proper analysis".
The proposal for the merger was cleared by the Prime Minister, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was also holding charge of the MOIA. The move is seen as part of the Narendra Modi Government's broad principle of "minimum government, maximum governance".