PBD 2021: Jaishankar bats for bigger role of diaspora in Aatmanirbhar Bharat

The Indian government has called for greater engagement of the Indian diaspora in promoting the vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and various projects of nation building.“Aatmanirbhar Bharat helps create new avenues for stronger connections with the Pravasis,” External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said at the opening day of the  16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention 2021 on January 9. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic,  PBD is being held virtually.

The objective of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is to build greater national capacities so that we can make a stronger contribution globally. Even otherwise, this was a laudable goal. But the experience of the Covid pandemic has driven home the need for more trusted, resilient, reliable and redundant supply chains,” said Mr Jaishnankar.“Involving the diaspora in that endeavour is natural. To start with, they have always been enthusiastic contributors to nation-building. Secondly, as high achievers in their own societies, they can bring to bear resources, technology, best practices and Innovations to the task.”

“They help in giving this ambitious exercise a truly global footprint. I, therefore, hope that today’s session can serve as an inspiration to make this a larger shared enterprise,” he said.Alluding to the large-scale domestic production of masks and PPEs in India during the pandemic, Mr Jaishankar said: “Whether it was the production of PPEs and masks, or indeed of ventilators and testing kits, we demonstrated an ability to rise to the challenge. That determination is now becoming visible as a larger approach to our national capabilities and prospects.”

The minister underlined that  the peoject of self-reliance  would have direct consequences for employment and inclusiveness. employment and inclusiveness.“These are all steps in the making of the New India and it is only appropriate that our diaspora is a full participant in that effort,” he said.“In India with greater capacities can be an additional engine of growth for the global economy. It will also be a trusted partner and a reliable supplier, in line with global norms and practices,” he said,

Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi is the chief guest for PBD 2021. Last year, the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held in Varanasi.The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, held every year on Januray 9, celebrates myriad contributions made by the Indian Diaspora in the economic development of the country. Observed every year, the event is also a platform for highlighting the difficulties faced by Indian expatriate workers living abroad who act as a bridge-builders between their home and adopted countries.

“Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is a ‘great opportunity’ to interact with diaspora”, tweeted PM Narendra Modi. “Today we have been connected with internet from various corners of the world,but our minds are always connected with ‘Maa Bharti’,” he added.

16th PBD

The theme of 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention 2021 is “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat” meaning ‘self-reliant.’ The uncertainties triggered  by the pandemic  has led to calls for greater resilience at home to make a larger contribution abroad. Apart from Aatmanirbhar Bharat, this year the PBD focuses on the role of the Indian diaspora in promoting India’s culture, boosting the Medium and Small Scale Industries(MSMEs), enhancing Gulf-India ties, showcasing India@75 and Bringing Together Young Achievers from India and Indian Diaspora.The post-covid challenges in terms of health, economy, social and international relations’ formed part of the inaugural session.

A flagship event of the Ministry

PBD Convention is the flagship event of India’s Ministry of External Affairs and provides an important platform to engage and connect with overseas Indians.  Also known as Non-Resident Indian Day, it is primarily celebrated to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa on this very day in the year 1915.

(Shweta Aggarwal and Palak Chhabra contributed inputs for this article)




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