3,000 NRIs to attend Bengaluru's first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jan

3,000 NRIs to attend Bengaluru's first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jan

3,000 NRIs to attend Bengaluru's first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jan
Nearly 3,000 overseas Indians are expected to reach Bengaluru in January next year to take part in Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) — the country’s flagship event to connect with the diaspora worldwide.

The Ministry of External Affairs partnered with the Government of Karnataka to hold the 14th PBD convention in Bengaluru from January 7 to 9, 2017. This is the first time that the event is being held in Karnataka.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday launched the website of the 14th PBD. They also released the logo of the event, after formally announcing the date and venue of the event.

Swaraj said that nearly 3,000 overseas Indians were expected to take part in the event, which would be themed on ‘Redefining Engagement with Indian Diaspora’. She said prospective delegates could immediately start registering themselves on the PBD portal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote address on January 8. President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the valedictory address after conferring Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards on overseas Indians, who have contributed in their respective fields in their host countries as well as in India, Swaraj said.

“Karnataka, our partner state for the PBD, is one of the states which sends a large number of Indians abroad every year. The state is also a hub of information technology industry,” she said, explaining why the Centre partnered with Karnataka for the PBD.

Joining Swaraj in addressing a news conference at the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday, Siddaramaiah said that four lakh Kannadigas lived outside India. He also noted that 25 million people of Indian descent lived on foreign soil. “As dispersed as they are across the world, making name, fame and fortune for themselves, our diaspora is bound by the idea of Indianness,” the chief minister said.

“Karnataka has much in store to offer to every delegate in the PBD 2017. Besides meaningful conferences covering vast subjects and creating interest for the NRI investor community, we would also be showcasing art and culture of the state,” he said.

The PBD 2017 is going to be the first such convention after the government changed the format of the event, which was previously held on January 9 every year to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa in 1915. “It was felt that the large convention format was becoming an event without any substantive engagement with overseas Indians and was devoid of outcomes. The government therefore decided that the PBD convention would he held only once in two years,” Swaraj said.

The PBD 2016 was a low-key affair on January 9 when Swaraj interacted through videoconferencing with overseas Indians from the MEA headquarters in New Delhi.

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