Gulf NRIs€™ Place Under PBD SunNRI

September 30, 2013 15:16
Gulf NRIs€™ Place Under PBD Sun

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in India’s development of India. This year, the 11th PBD convention was held in Kochi, Kerala, to honour the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the nation’s development. Over 2,000 delegates from over 40 countries participated on the occasion. The conference had for the first time rightly focused on Gulf NRIs, who constitute the lion's share of the 25-million-strong Indian diaspora, and account for the 27% of nearly billion remittance that India receives annually.

PBD Conventions provide a platform for exchange of views and networking to overseas Indians on matters of common interest and concern to them. They also help the India government to better understand and appreciate the expectations of the overseas Indian community from the land of their ancestors and more importantly, acknowledge the important role played by them in India's efforts to acquire its rightful place among nations.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 in Kochi. The Chief Guest and President of the Republic of Mauritius Rajkeswur Purryag; the Governor of Kerala H R Bhardwaj; Union Minister for External Affairs Salman Khursheed; the Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi; and, the Chief Minister, Kerala Oommen Chandy, were also present.

While formally inaugurating the mega event, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “At a time of turbulence in many parts of the world, the safety and security of overseas Indian communities are uppermost in our minds. We derive comfort from the assurances that we have received from governments in the countries of your residence that they will do everything for your safety and security. We recognize that the primary responsibility rests with the host countries, but when needed, as was the case last year in Libya, our government will provide prompt and necessary assistance. Apart from physical safety, we are also concerned with the social and emotional well-being of our overseas brethren. We have therefore launched an insurance scheme for workers, established welfare funds in our embassies for distressed Indians, and created mechanisms to help vulnerable women abroad.”

"As the Indian expatriate community develops a larger global presence, they also become more vulnerable to economic crises, conflicts, civil unrest or just senseless hate crimes. At a time of turbulence in many parts of the world, the security and the safety of overseas Indian communities are uppermost in our minds," he added.

Lauding the contributions of expatriates, the PM said the government would everything that is possible to deepen their connection with India and advance their interests. "While honouring their achievements, we will also seek to facilitate their travel, business, education and make it easier for them to be a part of life in India, enjoy due rights and participate in India's economic development," he said.

The President of Mauritius, Rajkeshwur Purryag, who was the chief guest at the inaugural session, said his country would lend all support to India's claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

The PM released a stamp to mark the 100th anniversary of Gadar Movement, the historic struggle of overseas Indians in California to support the freedom movement of India. Manmohan Singh also announced that the government has decided to upgrade the Gadar memorial at San Francisco to a functional museum.

Singh said that even though India's annual GDP growth rate could end up at less than 6% this year, the country would bounce back soon. Strong fundamentals supported by sound policies would ensure growth, he claimed.

In addition, at the inauguration ceremony, the PM released a hand book for Overseas Indians to facilitate economic engagement and a commemorative postage stamp.

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