Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, the annual congregation of NRIs and PIOs, kicked off in Jaipur on Saturday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set to deliver his inaugural address on Sunday during which he is likely to announce the much-awaited voluntary insurance and pension scheme for millions of overseas Indian workers.
Singh will address the nearly 1,500 delegates from 24 countries that include top government functionaries and officials of several nations at the Birla Auditorium in this 'pink city', which has been spruced up and turned into a security fortress for the annual event.
Top government sources said Singh may announce the setting up of a Pension and Life Insurance Fund (PLIF) for overseas Indian workers, particularly those working in Gulf countries.
The proposal to set up the fund, which allows workers to opt for the scheme, was cleared by the Cabinet last week.
Overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi said the scheme was voluntary and any overseas worker can opt for it. Under the scheme, the government will co-contribute Rs 1,000 annually for all subscribers who contribute between Rs 1,000 and Rs 12,000 per year. Women overseas workers will enjoy a special additional co-contribution of Rs 1000 a year.
Indian-origin Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad Bissessar is the chief guest in the 10th edition of PBD. She is on a state visit to India and is leading a high-level delegation that includes the nation's ambassador and cricketing legend Brian Lara.
It has been a custom that the prime minister inaugurates the event and the president addresses the valedictory session.
President Pratibha Patil will address the closing ceremony of the event on Monday and confer awards on NRIs and PIOs who have excelled in various fields.
Mukherjee will deliver his key note address at the session on 'Inclusive Growth: Two Decades of Economic Liberalisation' tomorrow which will be addressed by transport minister CP Joshi and environment minister Jayanti Natarajan.
Besides discussions on economy and investments, this year's conference is also expected to deliberate on the ways to engage the young diaspora community in the country's growth and also creating awareness among them about the rich and diverse culture of India.
The theme of this year's conference is 'Global Indian -Inclusive Growth' and over 10 Union ministers including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will address the delegates during which they are expected to throw light on the country's growth and seek further investments from the diaspora.
Ravi said another main thrust of the event is to find ways and means on how to make the younger generation of Persons of Indian Origin to understand about India.
Besides Union ministers, over 10 chief ministers of various states and Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, will chair several sessions on various topics on Sunday and Monday.
The city is all decked up to welcome the dignitaries and is dotted with banners and posters of the event.
Security has been beefed up across Jaipur and neighbouring areas in view of the visit of President Patil and Prime Minister Singh.
Cultural programmes showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India in general and Rajasthan in particular.