Indian-Americans, a community that has a combined annual income of a whopping $67.4 billion, can play a key role in philanthropy activities in India that could dwarf official U.S. foreign aid to India by 10 times, according to new research, writes Lalit K. Jha. (#IndianAmerican, #Siliconeer, #TiE, #TiESV)

The donations could be to the tune of $1.2 billion per annum, said a report published in ‘Impact India’ – a magazine for philanthropists and social innovators targeting India published jointly by the Bridgespan Group, Dasra, and Stanford Social Innovation Review – that also put the “combined annual discretionary income of Americans of Indian origin” at $67.4 billion.

The growing Indian diaspora settled in America totals over 1.9 million, the report said, adding that there are another 1.6 million Americans who report having Indian ancestry.

“If their philanthropic contributions were consistent with those of other U.S. households in similar income brackets, and if they directed 40 percent of their philanthropic giving to India, $1.2 billion per year would flow from Indian diaspora donors to Indian causes,” the report said.

This sum would dwarf official U.S. foreign aid to India ($116.4 million in fiscal year 2014).

What’s more, it would represent more than half the entire amount of annual official development aid received by India from all countries – $2.2 billion, on average, from 2005 through 2013.

Noting that Indian Americans are donating more than ever before to support broad-based social change aimed at reducing India’s inequities, it said the potential for impact is great, but so are the challenges.

According to the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration seems particularly attuned to the upside potential for financial and non-financial support from the Indian American diaspora.

His focus on bilateral India-U.S. initiatives may be an indicator of his openness to connect with U.S. constituencies, including Indian Americans, who could contribute meaningfully to India’s development.