6 Jan :About 1500 delegates from across the world have started gathering in Chennai to take part in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), 2009 that starts off tomorrow. The 7th Indian Diaspora convention is being organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh will formally inaugurate the PBD Convention on 8th January, 2009. He will also launch a Diaspora Knowledge Network. The President Mrs. Prathibha Devisingh Patil will deliver the valedictory address on 9th January. She would also confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards for 2009. Several Central Ministers and Chief Ministers are scheduled to address the delegates. The theme of PBD-2009 is ‘Engaging the Diaspora – The way forward’
The three day mega event will get started with opening of a trade and industry exhibition at the Chennai Trade Centre tomorrow with participation from Corporate, Financial Institutions, State Governments, NGOs and others. The External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee will hold a welcome reception for the delegates on the first day.The South Zone Cultural Centre will make a presentation.
Vice-President of Surinam Mr. Ramdien Saredjoe is the chief guest at the convention and Vice President of Mauritius H.E. Angidi Chettiar and several Ministers from Mauritius, Srilanka, Singapore, South Africa and Canada are scheduled to participate.
19 States and Union Territories have confirmed that they would take part in the mega event. A plenary session with Chief Ministers and separate sessions with State Governments have been planned. The focus topics for discussion include “Indian Diaspora : Preservation of Language and Culture”, “Role of Diaspora Youth in the 21st Century India” and “India as an Emerging Power : The Diaspora Factor”. So far, Malaysia has confirmed the highest number of participation in the convention followed by Singapore.
Prominent among the speakers scheduled to address the gathering include CK Prahlad, Sam Pitroda, Sugata Bose, Renu Khator, Shashi Tharoor,PT Usha,N.Ram, Lord Diljit Rana, Baronness Shreela Flather, Thomas Abraham, Gopinath Pilai, Rajinder Paul Loomba, T.P. Naidoo, Mahyendra Utchanah, Deepak Oberoi, Yussaffali, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Satpal Kattar, Hari Pandey, Dr. Ravi Seethapathy, Sam Chandrasekhar, Loganathan Naidoo, Meera Ravi, Justice Mohini Murugeshan, Professor Narana Sinai Coisoro, Mohammed dewji, Dr. Alok Mukherjee, Professor M.K. Gautam, Albert R Ramdin, Dr. Prem Misir, Dr. Philomina Ann Mohini Harris, Anand Ramlogan and Ashook Ramsaran.
The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) will set up a Market Place at the venue to facilitate business and investment. Arrangements have been made to take delegates on tour to Tirupati, Puducherry, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) and other places.
PBD Conventions provide a platform for exchange of views and networking to the Persons of Indian Origin on matters of common interest. These Conventions enable the Government of India to better understand the expectations of the Overseas Indians from the land of their ancestors and to acknowledge their role in India’s all-round development.
Decisions taken by the Government of India as a result of wider consultations held at such Conventions include formulation of the Overseas Citizenship of India Scheme, establishment of Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, conceptualisation of a PIO University, formation of Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, and setting up of an India Development Foundation. Programmes e.g. Know India Programme and Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children are designed specifically for Diaspora youth.
The Indian diaspora which number about 25 million all over the world has been supportive in developing India as well as making a mark in their respective countries. PBD Chennai is expected to carry forward the constructive engagement with the Diaspora with renewed vigor.