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    After UK, Italy hosts biggest Indian diaspora in Europe

    Synopsis

    While the entire global media attention is on China’s inroads in Italy, it is a lesser known fact that around 200,000 Indians, including students resided in Italy at the time of the virus outbreak.

    ANI
    An AirIndia special flight AI-112 carrying 263 Indians evacuated from the Covid-19-hit Italy’s capital city of Rome, landed at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning.
    Coronavirus

    COVID-19 CASES

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    New Delhi: After the UK, it is Italy, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak after China, which houses the biggest Indian diaspora in Europe.

    The picture of members of the community who have decided to return to India or are staying back in Italy after the Covid-19 outbreak shows that the country has emerged as the key destination for Indians in mainland Europe. An AirIndia special flight AI-112 carrying 263 Indians evacuated from the Covid-19-hit Italy’s capital city of Rome, landed at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning.
    After UK, Italy Hosts Biggest Indian Diaspora in Europe
    While the entire global media attention is on China’s inroads in Italy, it is a lesser known fact that around 200,000 Indians, including students resided in Italy at the time of the virus outbreak. From better working and living conditions to higher education opportunities, Italy has attracted many Indians over the past 20 years. The small and medium scale industries in Italy have also attracted Indian entrepreneurs. As a tourist destination with smooth and direct connectivity, Italy has attracted a lot of Indians.

    In his book ‘India Moving: A History of Migration’, Chinmay Tumbe, an IIM-Ahmedabad faculty member and author says: “The total number of Indians in Italy has now crossed 200,000, making it the largest Indian diaspora in Continental Europe and far greater than the 30,000 estimated in Spain. This Indian contingent is mainly made up of Punjabi Jat Sikhs. These people toil away in the dairy and agricultural sectors of northern Italy. They are now known as “cow-milkers” or bergamini, in Italian…Apart from Punjabis, Roman Catholic Keralites can also be found working in the domestic service sector in and around Rome.” Official figures from both sides put the figure of the Indian community, including the diaspora, at around 180,000. In northern and central Italy, Indians are spread across the large cities of Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin, Bologna and Parma and are engaged in running small factories and small businesses. Ranjit Singh, who went to Italy from Punjab in 1993, now runs an auto parts factory in the north Italian city of Cremona and employs 30 workers –– all of whom are from India.

    Nand Kumar Kurup, an IIT-Delhi alumnus, runs a fashion company Ince Global in Milan which he set up in 2007. He is the vice-president of the Indian Business Forum which has members from apparel manufacturing, CA firms and design and IT firms run by people of Indian origin. “Many Indians have chosen to set up companies in Lombardia which is the financial capital of Italy with a high per capita income,” said Kurup, an Indian community leader and president of the Indian Association of Northern Italy. He has been reaching out to the Indian community, including students, across Italy despite the lockdown.

    Indian students from tier-1 cities and beyond have chosen Italy for its super-specialised fashion and design-focused post-graduate courses and luxury brand management courses. Through internships and summer jobs, they can get an exposure to luxury designer brands and designers in Italy. Some prominent ones for specialised degrees include Domas Academy, University of Florence and Politecnico Di Milano.

    There are several prominent universities offering courses especially in the field of architecture and design, UIUX design, new technologies, agriculture, conservation and restoration of cultural assets, cinema, dance, drama and advanced musical studies. The low-cost factor also attracts Indian students with fees quite low and the government of Italy providing a lot of financial support, stipends and scholarships to international students.

    Sanjeev Roy, higher education expert, EU public diplomacy in India, feels that a combination of factors including lower fees compared to other overseas educational destinations and availability of reputed international courses in several disciplines such as brand, fashion and engineering, makes Italy an attractive destination for Indian students.

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    1 Comment on this Story

    Manzy301 days ago
    I sometimes feel how selfish these people are, you leave your country for better life better salary and better safety however when the emergency looms you come back to India and be the primary reason for the widespread of a disease which is primarily carried by tourist or people coming from outside India. All the reasons for which you left India fades away, why dont you still be in those respective countries and stick to the primary reason for which you left India.
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