The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated every year on 8th and 9th January to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India.
These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
Why 9th Jan Date ?
9th January was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation returned to India from South Africa and led and shaped India’s freedom struggle that changed the lives of the Indian people forever.Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conventions have been held regularly since 2003.
What is happened in PBD?
The occasion is marked by special programs to recognize the contributions of Non Resident Indians and Person of Indian Origin individuals of exceptional merit, and felicitate such individuals who have made exceptional contributions in their chosen field/profession. During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honored with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth.The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017:
The Ministry of External Affairs, under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been effortlessly using digital modes to reach out to Indians abroad. The campaign ‘Digital India’ has played a major role in bringing the success to Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. This year’s 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held at Bengaluru.
Dr. Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal who is also of Indian origin was the Chief Guest. He participated in the inaugural session of thePravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention.
On January 7, the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was inaugurated by Sports Minister Vijay Goel and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh. Mr. Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin, Vice President of the Republic of Suriname was the Special Guest at this event. He addressed the young overseas Indian delegates at the inaugural session of the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas seeks to reconnect young overseas Indians with their Indian roots and enhance their awareness of both contemporary India and the culture and heritage of India. The inaugural session was on the theme “Role of Diaspora Youth in the Transformation of India.”
The Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas saw participation of 160 Indian origin youth visiting under four of our “Know India” programs, 250 graduate and postgraduate students from the National Service Scheme and 200 students from Bengaluru colleges.
Highlight of the youth PBD was sessions on start-ups and innovations which have a social impact in India and start-up ecosystem in Karnataka.
Fourteen states including Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have put up stalls at the convention.
Among the many attractions under the theme, ‘Redefining engagement with Indian diaspora’, the event exhibition showcased the achievements of the government in various sectors, including its policies and initiatives. Delegates also explored business opportunities in India and can connect with government officials, business owners and entrepreneurs.
The various sessions discussed and understood the culture and society of ‘Girmitiyas’ (The agreement between indentured Indians who left India for Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and then British government is known as ‘Girmit’) to integrate the Diaspora with the local communities. It promotes Indian arts, culture, Yoga with the help of missions in Girmitiya countries amongst many others.
President Pranab Mukherjee delivered the valedictory address and conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards on 30 Overseas Indians.
The Convention enabled the government to continue its engagement with Overseas Indian Community, address issues which pertain to them, take on board their suggestions and feedback. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas aimed at celebrating the achievements of the Indian diaspora and take pride in their success.
What PM Modi said at PBD?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Government will shortly launch a skill development program – Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana – targeted at Indian youth seeking overseas employment.
At Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the overseas Indian community to convert their PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) cards to OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cards. Addressing the main convention of 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru Mr Modi said, the government has extended the deadline for the conversion of cards from 31st December 2016 to 30th June 2017 without any penalty.
He said, starting with Mauritius, Government is working to put in place procedures so that descendants of Girmitiyas can become eligible for OCI cards. He said, the Centre is committed to address such difficulties of persons of Indian origin in Fiji, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean states. Mr Modi said, from 1st January special counters have been set up at immigration points at Delhi and Bengaluru Airport for OCI card holders.
The Prime Minister said, Government wants to turn the brain drain into brain gain and the support of Non Resident Indians is very important in it. He said, remittances close to 69 billion dollars annually by overseas Indians makes an invaluable contribution to Indian economy.
Mr Modi said, the government’s effort is to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience to the workers who seek economic opportunities abroad. He said, Indians staying abroad are respected not only for their strength in numbers but also for the contributions they make. He said, the embassies would reach out to the needy people of Indian origin whether it is medical and shelter issue or transportation of mortal remains of those who die abroad.
Mr Modi thanked the Indian diaspora for their support in the government’s fight against corruption and black money. He said, it is unfortunate that India’s fight against corruption is being termed anti-people by some.
Chief Guest of the event Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa stressed the role of the Indian community’s contribution in Portugal. Mr Costa said, he is proud that he is a person of Indian origin. Stressing his country’s geographic advantage, he said, Portugal wants to attract foreign direct investment.