The Ministry of External Affairs announced that the annual overseas Indians’ gathering — “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas” — will be held from Jan. 7-9 in Bengaluru.”The Pravasi Divas had traditionally been held on Jan. 9 every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Pravasi’ from South Africa to India.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Jan. 8 in the presence of Prime Minister of Portugal Dr. Antonio Costa, the chief guest at the convention.
Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to address youth PBD delegates on Jan. 7 and President Pranab Mukherjee is to confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards on Jan. 9. The numerous other chief ministers are scheduled to address delegates throughout the day on Jan. 8.
On the opening day of the three-day convention, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V.K. Singh (retd) will inaugurate the PBD exhibition, along with the Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah.
At a media briefing here, Secretary for Overseas Indian Affairs Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay said: “The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention is a very important platform for engagement of the government of India and the state governments with the overseas Indian community, including the Indian American community.
Currently, there are 3.12 crore overseas Indians globally, of which 1.34 crore are Persons of Indian Origin and 1.7 crore Non-Resident Indians.
Speaking on the decision to hold the convention once in two years, Mulay said the convention is becoming somewhat repetitive in nature, and therefore, the format has changed and now it would be held once in two years.
The theme for the upcoming convention, being organized in association with the government of Karnataka, is “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.”
During the convention, on Jan. 7 the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held, which will be inaugurated by Vijay Goel, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports.
The idea behind the move is to reconnect the diaspora youth with their roots and enhance their awareness about Indian culture. More than 4,000 delegates are expected to attend the PBD convention.
In addition to the dignitaries speaking at the convention, there are several new features in 2017, including optional industrial visits for delegates Jan. 7 and Jan. 10 around Bangalore; business to business meetings with government officials, delegates and exhibitors; an exhibition at PBD showcasing some of the government’s flagship programs, opportunities in many states of India, corporate and public sector undertakings and Indian handicraft, among others; and sightseeing tours.
More information about the event can be found at www.pbdindia.gov.in.