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A Galaxy of NRIs to attend the meet

Some of the leading personalities of the Diaspora who have confirmed their participation are Noble Laureate Sir V S Naipaul, Management Guru Mr. C K Prahalad, Eminent Economist Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati , Dato Seri Sami Vellu, the Minister from Malaysia, Lord Bagri of UK, Mr. LN Mittal the business tycoon of UK and the veteran West Indies Cricketer Rohan Kanhai and other.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2003 15:20 IST
PTI

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) announced that New Delhi will once again host the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas starting January 9, 2004, at the Vigyan Bhavan.

The three-day (January 09 - 11, 2004) event will be inaugurated by Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and followed by the presentation of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2004. The Second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will provide a renewed platform to take forward the collective task initiated last year of bringing together the Indian Diaspora and leveraging the potential offered by the Global Indian Family.

Apart from the new and emerging issues that the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will attempt to address and action, it will also review decisions taken during the First Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and create a blue print for the future. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2004 will witness the fruition of the major announcements made at the last event.

The formalities of the changes to the dual Citizenship Act announced by the PM in January this year, are expected to be completed before the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2004. Also in the offing are final announcements on the Gulf Insurance Scheme and the amendments to the Foreign Contribution Act.

"The first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas set in motion the gargantuan task of bringing Indians from every corner of the globe under one roof and for the first time created awareness about the achievements of the Great Indian Family. The second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will take this effort further and not only enhance the belief and power that this family possesses but also deal with the issues and concerns faced by them," said JC Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

The upcoming Pravasi Divas will attempt to address issues faced by the Indian Diaspora in the Gulf, which was raised at multiple platforms last year. Thus a special session has been incorporated to provide them a forum to air their grievances and present their solutions.
Another focus area in the upcoming Pravasi Divas is the youth of the Indian Diaspora, who is being targeted with the view that the coming generations are the torchbearers in building future Diaspora relationships. To encourage participation from the younger generation of the Diaspora, a two to three weeks internship programme in India before Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being planned, for 20 students, one each from 20 prominent destinations across the Globe.

An exhibit of notable interest will be on the Ethnic Media, which plays an important role in keeping Indian communities connected and informed of India. The key highlights of the Divas include a session with the Minister of External Affairs on Policies for Productive Engagement, and a session with the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

The Minister of Finance will talk on Globalization, Indian Economy and the Diaspora; while the Deputy Prime Minister of India will speak on the theme: India and the Diaspora: Vision for 2020. Other subjects of dialogue include issues of personal international law and the diaspora, international trade - diaspora hubs and the global market, knowledge based industries - networking for global leadership and tourism - branding strategies for India. Round table discussions on Making India a Competitive Destination in healthcare, voluntary sector and development and finance are in order.

The final day will be committed to parallel sessions with the state governments of India and parallel sessions on creating science and technology corridors with STIOs and opportunities in defence and internal security research and development.

Some of the leading personalities of the Diaspora who have confirmed their participation are Noble Laureate Sir V S Naipaul, Management Guru Mr. C K Prahalad, Eminent Economist Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati , Dato Seri Sami Vellu, the Minister from Malaysia, Lord Bagri of UK, Mr. LN Mittal the business tycoon of UK and the veteran West Indies Cricketer Rohan Kanhai. Some leaders of Indian Industry to address the gathering include Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of India's largest conglomerate Reliance Industries and Mr. Sunil Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Telecom.

On the occasion of the Second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the Government of India is publishing a special handbook for NRIs and PIOs, which will give them rules and frameworks on basic issues such as, taxation situation, rights on property matters, special schemes offered by State governments for the NRIs & PIOs, etc.

"On the basis of feedback from the delegates of first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, FICCI has come to the conclusion that there has been a significant diplomatic dividend considering that many eminent and influential NRIs went back from the event with positive thoughts about India. Thus if the emerging recommendations and suggestions are implemented, it shall encourage diaspora's engagement in India's development," said Amit Mitra, Director General, FICCI.

January 9 each year has been chosen as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas both in India and abroad as it was on this date in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi finally returned to India after almost two decades in South Africa. The recommendation of celebration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas had been made to recognise the contribution of the Indian diaspora in the political, economic, social, academic and cultural fields.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India and FICCI.

First Published: Nov 10, 2003 15:20 IST