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12 CMs to participate in Diaspora Day

The chief ministers would address separate sessions at the event to attract investment to their respective states.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 21:26 IST

Chief ministers of 12 states will interact with the Indian diaspora at the fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to be held here early next month.

SP Tripathi, undersecretary, the ministry of overseas Indian affairs, told reporters Saturday that chief ministers of 12 states, including Andhra Pradesh, had confirmed their participation.

The chief ministers would address separate sessions at the event to attract investment to their respective states, Tripathi said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy will address the delegates on January 8, the second day of the three-day event.

About 2,000 delegates, including 1,500 non-resident Indians (NRIs), would attend the PBD or the Indian diaspora day, which also marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa on January 9, 1915.

Some of the important initiatives to be announced include creation of special vehicles to facilitate overseas Indians' investment, a collaborative research institution and an e-based Indian Diaspora Knowledge Network, a platform that will facilitate global information exchange and networking between overseas Indians and India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will inaugurate the event, will also give away the first Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card to a person of Indian origin, to formally launch the scheme.

The government of India would spend Rs 80 million ($1.76 million) to organise PBD, being organised by the ministry in partnership with Andhra Pradesh and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Two separate exhibitions during the event will allow the participating states to showcase investment and partnership opportunities as well as their cultural and socio-economic environments.

Tripathi said the event was expected to immensely benefit the country by paving way for greater NRI investment. He pointed out that India tops the list when it comes to remittances from expatriate workers, overtaking China.

According to the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects (GEP) 2006 report, Indians sent home $21.7 billion in 2004 against $21.3 billion sent to China by the Chinese diaspora in the same year.

"This proves that Indian diaspora has a firm belief in the strength of the Indian economy and they expect higher returns for their investment here," said the official.

To enable faster remittances, an Internet-based Universal Integrated Electronic Remittances Gateway will also be launched during the event.

Asked about the influx of investment as a result of the three PBDs so far, Tripathi said: "The purpose of the event is not attracting investments alone. The main aim is to reconnect the diaspora to their roots."

An estimated 25 million-strong Indian diaspora is spread across 110 countries.

Andhra Pradesh's Minister for Tourism Geeta Reddy, who heads a four-member ministerial group of the state government to organise the event, said there would be a string of cultural extravaganzas, gala dinners and entertainment programmes that would reinforce the diaposra's traditional ties.

She said an important feature this year is Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth, a three-week project that offers participants an opportunity to work with selected institutions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, before their participation in the PBD.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 14:39 IST