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Nearly 2,000 NRIs to attend diaspora conclave

The annual meet in Hyderabad from January 7-9 will connect 20-million-strong diaspora from across 110 countries.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2005 12:50 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

About 2,000 non-resident Indians (NRIs) are expected to attend the fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, or the fourth annual conclave of the Indian diaspora, to be heldfromJanuary 7-9 next year.

Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan, who wasin the state capitalto review arrangements for the conclave that connects the 20-million- strong diaspora spread across 110 countries, expressed satisfaction over the progress of work.

He discussed and reviewed the arrangements with Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy on late Wednesday.

Chavan told newspersons that the Centre would launch the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme next month that would provide life-long visa to persons of Indian origin (PIOs) to visit India at will.

Under the scheme, PIOs holding foreign passports, barring those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, can visit India whenever they want. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the scheme during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January this year.

Chavan hinted that the scheme could be launched from November 14. The application forms will be issued and accepted from that day. They will be processed in a month or two and the cards will be issued subsequently.

The Minister said that some 2,000 NRIs and 1,000 delegates from India would attend the meet, jointly organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), the Andhra Pradesh government and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

He said the website, outlining details of the event and providing online registration of delegates, would be launched by November 1. The website will also have details about flight connectivity to Hyderabad, description of the sites of tourist interest and tourism packages.

The conclave is held every year to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa on January 9, 1915, after a successfully fighting for the rights of the coloured minorities.

Chavan visited International Convention Centre, being constructed in the premises of Hyderabad International Trade Exhibition (HITEX) in Madhapur.

The 4,000 capacity convention centre, the largest such venue in India and being built by Dubai-based Emmar Properties, will be the venue for the inaugural and valedictory sessions of the three-day convention.

Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the conference on January 7 and President APJ Abdul Kalam will address the valedictory session and honour 15 eminent overseas Indians with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

The adjacent HITEX will host an India trade and industrial exhibition in which several states as well as private exhibitors will take part. The plenary session and business conferences will be held at Shilpakala Vedika near HITEC City, which houses many multinational and national IT giants.

The nearby Shilparamam crafts village will be the venue for a cultural exhibition to showcase the arts and crafts of various states.

Since entertainment programmes at this year's conclave in Mumbai were cancelled due to last ear's tsunami, the organisers have planned a grand show this time around.

The MOIA has invited groups of diaspora youth to join in the cultural event on the inaugural evening under the theme "Dialogue of Cultures" to interact with artistes from India. An internship programme for diaspora youth is also planned.

First Published: Oct 27, 2005 12:50 IST