Guests from West Asia dominate diaspora event

Guests from West Asia dominate diaspora event

Billed as the biggest-ever assembly of the Indian diaspora, the 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas began with much fanfare here on Saturday.

About 1,700 non-resident Indians took in the sights and sounds, with the focus on the first day being on India’s transition to a digitised economy and youth entrepreneurship.

A sense of anticipation was in the air as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the convention on Sunday.

The turnout this time is overwhelmingly from West Asian countries such as Qatar, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Over 700 delegates from the Gulf are hopeful the prime minister will redress 25-year-old demands linked to rehabilitation.

The Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on the Bengaluru-Mumbai highway has turned into a mini-India, with people from different parts of the country and representatives of the diaspora coming together in big numbers.

Dnyaneshwar Mulay, secretary, ministry of external affairs, said 7,100 people had so far registered for the event and spot registrations would be open till Saturday evening.

Besides Modi, the spotlight on Sunday will also be on Portuguese prime minister Dr Antonio Costa, who is arriving as a chief guest.

Singh’s ‘T’ party

Setting the tone for the three-day event, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said talent, training, technology and team work would be the four elements binding NRI youth with the country in the years ahead.

Cultural events, besides exhibits by states, ministries and private and public organisations are adding colour to the mela.

Stalls promoting traditional medicine — Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani — as also yoga are conspicuous. A display details the Ganga-cleaning project, Namaami Gange.
Some NRIs complained about a shortage of cash because of the November 8 demonetisation.

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