The 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is being held from 7 to 9 January, 2017 in Bengaluru in partnership with the Karnataka government on the theme “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.” It is organised by The Ministry of External Affairs. The Pravasi Bharatiya Convention is a very important platform for engagement of the Government of India and the State Governments with the overseas Indian community. It has been held traditionally on 9th January every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.
Presently there are nearly 3.12 crore overseas Indians settled globally, of which nearly 1.34 crore are Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and 1.78 crore i.e. are Non Resident Indians (NRI). The first PBD was held in January 2003 in New Delhi. So far 13 editions of the PBD Convention have been held, the last in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in January 2015 which coincided with the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup today in a thanksgiving statement said that there were 8000 delegates at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention this year, which is the maximum till date. Swarup also thanked the Secretary of Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) for his briefing. This year, the Indian diaspora mainly comprised of Overseas Indians from Malaysia, Mauritius, UAE and Qatar.
You may also like to watch this video:
At the PBD Convention today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivered the keynote address. The Prime Minister of Portugal Dr. Antonio Costa was the Chief Guest for the inaugural function. Ministers from Malaysia Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu, Special Envoy of the Government of Malaysia for Infrastructure, Dato’ Seri Dr. S Subramaniyam, Minister of Health and Mauritius Minister Mr. Prithvi Raj Singh Roopun also participated in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as special guests.
The inauguration session was followed by the Chief Minister’s session, where all the Chief Ministers were invited to participate as PBD is an excellent opportunity for them to connect with the Indian diaspora and showcase their respective States. However, eight Chief ministers have so far confirmed their participation. The states were Karnataka, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and the UT of Puducherry.
The following day, on January 9 of the PBD convention there will be comprehensive sessions on issues which are of significance to the Indian diaspora such as immigration to ECR (Emigration Check Required) countries, role of diaspora organisations, the Indian community in the Girmitiya countries etc. President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the farewell address and confer the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards on 30 Overseas Indians.