The Indian government is set to leverage the 25-million strong Indian diaspora for promoting a self-reliant India and boosting post-pandemic economic recovery.
Earlier this week, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan inaugurated a special website of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2021 to celebrate the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the development of the country. It was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa and led India’s freedom struggle which changed the lives of Indians forever. Mr Muraleedharan highlighted the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which constrained the government to hold the biennial event in a virtual format this year. “In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India), against the tough competition in the global supply chain and empower the citizens to become self-reliant, the theme of this year’s event is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, the minister said.
Since 2015, the format of the PBD has changed to make it more relevant and outcome-oriented, focusing on a continuous and substantive dialogue with the overseas Indian community to harness their scientific, technical, and professional expertise for the development of the country.
“Therefore, in the run-up to the 16th PBD Convention, we are organizing five conferences which will be held virtually in 2020-2021,” he said.
The first four will be held in December 2020, based on themes, the “Role of Diaspora in Promotion of Indian Culture” (December 9), “Dialogue with Diaspora Business Leaders & CEOs – Targeting US$ 5 Trillion Aatmanirbhar Bharat Economy by boosting MSMEs” (December 10), “Regional PBD – GCC- India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Conference” (December 11, and “Forging Media & Entertainment Partnership to showcase India @75” (December 21).
A PBD youth conference is also being organized in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs on the theme “Bringing together India’s Young Achievers & Diaspora Young Achievers from different walks of life” on January 8, 2021, preceding the main Convention.
The “PBD 2021 would not only provide Indians to come together and interact but also deliberate on seeking solutions to the socio-economic challenges which India is facing. It will be inaugurated by the PM,” a statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs release quoted the minister as saying. During the Convention, selected diaspora individuals of exceptional merit would be honored with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. Also, two special plenary sessions would be conducted on topics: “Role of Diaspora in Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, and “Facing Post Covid Challenges – Scenario in Health, Economy, Social and International Relations”, where the experts from India and all across the world would brainstorm and recommend suggestions to provide solutions to the most challenging issues confronting the country.
The Indian diaspora is known for their talent, exemplary discipline, and hard-work and has made significant contributions to science, technology, music, literature, politics, and business, the minister said. Presently, the number of overseas Indians globally stands at nearly 31 million, of which, some 13 million are PIOs and 17 million are NRIs. “We warmly invite them to be a part of India’s dynamic and equitable growth, look forward to meaningfully engage with them through PBD Convention 2021 and be a stakeholder in the blueprint for India’s success,” the minister said.
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