Government revisits Indian Diaspora Meet

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas becomes biannual

Press Trust of India

In a major departure from the past, the Indian government has announced a paradigm shift in the format of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), its engagement with the Diaspora, with the mega jamboree to be held every alternate year and an event ‘focused on outcomes’ to be held every other year.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is also Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, announced the changed format of India’s engagement with its Diaspora recently.

Smaller event

She said that in January 2016, a much scaled-down event will be held with the participation of just 150 specially invited foreign delegates.

The invited Diaspora guests will be experts who would attend various sessions to brainstorm on issues, including the problem of the Indian Diaspora in the Gulf, on the government’s flagship programmes like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, and problems that Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) face, she said.

The January event will be held in the newly constructed PBD Kendra, which is ready.

Ms Swaraj announced that the ‘smaller events’ of the PBD would be held in the Delhi office every alternate year, while the major mela would be held every two years in a different state in partnership with that state government.

She said Karnataka, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have evinced interest in hosting the Diaspora event.

The Regional PBD was held in Los Angeles on November 14 and 15, with the attendance of US Secretary of State Sushma Swaraj.

In addition, ‘Mini Regional PBDs’ would be held in two places where the Indian origin populace is less concentrated in order to increase their sense of involvement with their country of origin.

Youth Competition

According to Ms Swaraj, the forthcoming PBD in Delhi would be more academic.

She also announced a quiz competition ‘Bharat Ko Janiye’ (Know India) to involve the Diaspora youth in learning about India.

The 20 winners, 10 from Persons of Indian Origin countries and 10 from countries with Non-Resident Indians would be awarded at the PBD.

Announcing the competition, Ms Swaraj said that Diaspora Indians between 18-35 years could apply to join the quiz, in which there would be two rounds.

After the second round, 10 successful candidates each from the PIO nations and with NRI population would be selected. They would be invited to the summit where they would have to participate in the third round.

The first three winners would be awarded at the plenary of the PBD.

The 20 youth would be taken on a ‘Bharat Darshan,’ to acquaint them about Indian art, culture, heritage and also modern India.

Samman Awards

She also announced that instead of honouring 15 Diaspora achievers at the Delhi PBD, the government would honour additional 15 Diaspora at the mega PBD to be held every two years. Indian missions would suggest the names of the Indian delegates to attend the PBD.

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