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Biz, biryani and bonhomie on the anvil

The three-day meet will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister on Saturday.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 22:09 IST

Business, biryani and lots of bonhomie are on the anvil as this southern city rolls out the red carpet to welcome 2,000 delegates to the fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an annual conclave of Indian Diaspora that kicks off on Saturday.

The three-day meet, to connect with the 25 million Indians spread across 110 countries, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the newly built Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) near Hitec City, an IT hub on the outskirts of the city.

The event will be signed off by President APJ Abdul Kalam, who will address the valedictory meeting and confer honours on 15 distinguished overseas Indians.

Andhra Pradesh, the first southern state to host the event, is going all out to make it a resounding success.

"It is a prestigious event for the state and we should leave no stone unturned to make it a great success," said Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy while directing officials to go all out to welcome the guests.

Authorities are making all efforts to ensure a pleasant stay for delegates in this 400-year old city, famous for palaces, pearls, lip-smacking biryani and more recently for its IT industry.

All roads leading to the venue are being decked up and important traffic intersections are being illuminated. Shilpakala Vedika and Shilparamam, which host some parallel sessions and cultural programmes, have also got a facelift.

Chief ministers of 12 states will be present to vie with each other in attracting investment at the meet organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with the state government and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Besides Rajasekhara Reddy, the chief ministers of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Bihar, Chattisgarh and West Bengal will interact with delegates to attract investment to their respective states.

The event witnesses the formal launching of the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme, which provides a lifelong visa to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) to visit India at will. The Prime Minister will give away the first OCI card to a PIO.

A 'universal integrated electronic remittances gateway' to facilitate faster remittances by India's vast Diaspora will be launched. Besides, a special purpose vehicle to facilitate investment by overseas Indians is expected to be announced.

A collaborative research institution and an e-based Indian Diaspora knowledge network to serve as a platform for facilitating global information exchange and networking between overseas Indians and India will also be formally launched.

Chief guest would be Ahmed Khatrada, a contemporary of South African leader Nelson Mandela, said an official.

Andhra Pradesh will be making a special bid to woo NRI investment. Making a presentation on potential areas of investment in each of 23 districts, the Chief Minister will invite investment and partnership for his pet scheme of irrigation.

He plans to complete all pending irrigation projects in the state at a cost of Rs 460 billion. The Chief Minister will explain his ambitious scheme INDIRAMMA (Integrated Novel Development In Rural Areas and Model Municipal Areas), a unique programme to usher in social transformation in villages and towns in three years at a cost of Rs 230 billion.

Rajasekhara Reddy said the state was not only looking forward to investment from NRIs but was also keen to leverage their experience and expertise in various sectors like information technology and pharma and also their partnership in philanthropic activities.

The first two Diaspora meets were held in Delhi and the third in Mumbai.

First Published: Jan 05, 2006 13:48 IST