India woos its diaspora

DUBAI - J. C. Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, has urged all non-resident Indians in the UAE to participate in the forthcoming second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, scheduled to be held between January 9 and 11 next year in New Delhi.

By Debasree S.

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Published: Fri 3 Oct 2003, 11:46 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:25 PM

Mr Sharma, who addressed a gathering of prominent NRIs at the Indian consulate in Dubai on Thursday evening, issued a personal invitation to Indian entrepreneurs and businessmen in the UAE, and urged them to participate in large numbers to make the summit a success. On behalf of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, he said: "We invite you not only to share our vision of India in the new millennium but also help us share its contours. We do not want only your investment but also your ideas. We do not want your riches, but we want the richness of your experience."

Among those present on the occasion were Indian Consul-General Yash Sinha, K. Kumar, president of the Indian Association Dubai and representatives of various Indian associations in Dubai.

The Ministry of External Affairs and the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have joined hands to celebrate the second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to recognise the goodwill and achievements of the Indian diaspora and ensure its sustained and productive interaction with India.

According to Mr Sharma, India's engagement with its diaspora earlier this year has generated a new sense of enthusiasm and expectation. "The Indian diaspora has promises to keep. The second Pravasi Bharatiya Divas aims at sustaining and carrying forward this progress."

The occasion was celebrated for the first time in January when India witnessed the first-ever conclave of the Indian diaspora with thousands of NRIs arriving in New Delhi to celebrate the concept of a global Indian family. The conference attracted over 2000 foreign delegates from 62 countries around the globe and an equally encouraging domestic participation of 1,200.

The announcement to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was made by Mr Vajpayee in accordance with the recommendations made by the high-level committee on the Indian diaspora, chaired by L. M. Singhvi. The committee had recommended that the constructive role played by the diaspora, its achievements and goodwill towards India should be recognised and celebrated.

Thus, January 9 was fixed for the celebration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a historically significant date on which Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915.

Mr Sharma said that issues pertaining to underprivileged Indian workers in the Gulf would come up for discussion at one of the five parallel sessions that would be held during the course of the three-day meeting. Insurance schemes for these workers and the education of the children they leave behind at home will be discussed at length during the session, Mr Sharma said.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2004 will be inaugurated by the prime minister who will also present the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to prominent personalities.

This will be followed by two plenaries that will be attended by the leader of opposition and the minister of external affairs with the theme, 'India and Pravasi Bharatiyas: Policies for Productive Engagement'. There will also be round tables on health care, voluntary sector and development, disinvestment, finance, media and tourism.

One of the major highlights of the event will be Shringar, a fashion extravaganza showcasing the rich heritage of 2,500 years of Indian Shringar - a colourful presentation of the Indian capability through an exhibition of India's textiles and apparel, embroidery, accessories and jewellery.

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