This post was originally published on 8 January 2017.
The 14th edition of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora, began at Bangalore on Saturday amid deliberations on several issues concerning the Indian diaspora across the globe.
Speaking at the event on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the contributions made by Indian diaspora in different nations across the world.
Modi spoke vividly on the concerns and development of Non-resident-Indians. He hailed Bharatiyata and Khoon Ka Rishta with the people of Indian origin living across the world.
“The Indian diaspora represents the best of Indian culture, ethos and values,” PM said.
Engagement with overseas Indians a priority
”For my government and for me personally engagement with overseas Indian community has been a priority,” he said.
“30 million Indians abroad are valued not just for strength in numbers but respected for contributions to India & countries where they live,” the Prime Minister added.
An initiative to engage with the young diaspora that provides a forum to discuss issues that concern them was attended by Suriname Vice President Michael Ashwin Adhin, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh.
Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
The ‘Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the world.
The Youth PBD in 2017 includes plenary sessions on problems faced by Indian students abroad, problems faced by NRI students in India, and startups and innovation which have a social impact in India.
Record attendance for PBD
The number of delegates that has now crossed 7,100 has been “unprecedented” since the inception of the event in 2003 to provide a platform for engagement between the diaspora and the government, said Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dnyaneshwar Mulay, and added that they were still receiving requests from delegates for registration.
“It is also unprecedented to have about 1,700 overseas participants and about 300 to 500 NRIs living in India, participating,” he added.
While concerns were raised on not having separate session to address grievances of those residing in Gulf countries, Mr. Mulay clarified that all the issues pertaining to those living abroad were being addressed. As many as seven Indian ambassadors to different countries were here to interact with the diaspora, he added.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a biennial event held in the country on January 9 to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India. The convention is also considered to be an important platform to facilitate engagement between the Central and state governments with the Overseas Indian Community.
The convention, being held biennially for the first time instead of earlier annual versions, will aim at redefining India’s engagement with its 3.12 crore strong diaspora in diverse spheres, including innovation, start-ups, tourism and education.