In this issue we will focus on the various initiatives that are being undertaken by the government of India to redefine engagement with our diaspora, and with the now Bi-annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas looming large on the horizon – it is slated to take place during january 2017 at Bangalore, known variously as the garden-city, India’s IT hub and the Silicon Valley of India – it is to us all the more important that we provide the diasporic readers of our magazine NRI Achievers with all the relevant information necessary for considering a trip to India and making the next PBD a rip-roaring success.
PRAVASI BHARATIYA KENDRA
In the run-up to the upcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 scheduled to take place at Bangalore in Karnataka, the Indian government has taken the initiativeof creating an exclusive facility for our diaspora in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. A new and state-of-the-art ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra’ was envisioned half a decade ago, when the first steps toward setting began with the then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh laying the foundation stone of the Kendra during the 9th PBD in January, 2011. The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is located at the heart of the capital at the diplomatic enclave Chanakyapuri in New Delhi.
Over time, the Kendra is expected to evolve into a hub of activities for sustainable, symbiotic and mutually rewarding economic, social and cultural engagement between India and its diaspora. Activities, seminars, events and workshops pertaining to the Indian Diaspora are expected to be organized at the PBK. The Kendra has a state-of-the art auditorium, multi-purpose halls for conducting workshops and conferences with overseas Indians, and activities on issues pertaining to them are to be organized here on a regular basis. The Kendra will also house autonomous bodies like the ‘India Centre for Migration’, a think-tank working on issues pertaining to Indian migrant workers, and the ‘Indian Development Foundation for Overseas Indians’, a not-for-profit Trust promoting contributions to flagship programmes in India.
The library in the PBK is a
valuable repository of material about the Indian Diaspora, including books written by overseas Indians in different languages.
Accommodation facilities at the Kendra are spread over a 9800 square metre area and include a 360 seat Auditorium, a banquet hall to cater to about 350 people, four conference rooms, seminar-cum-training halls with a capacity of 64 each, a museum-cum-exhibition hall and 24 guest rooms.
On this October 2nd, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the spanking new Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra and threw it open to the public. The PM, in his inaugural speech, said that ‘brain drain’ can be converted into ‘brain gain’ if the nation started looking at the 27-million strong Indian Diaspora spread out across the world as a strength rather than as mere numbers.
Emphasizing the importance of connecting with the Diaspora, he said that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated the concept of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which has been continued by successive governments. On the occasion, the PM also visited the exhibition on “Gandhi – Ek Pravasi.”
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, speaking at the function, said: “This Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is an ode to the spirit of enterprise, adaptability and foresight of all Pravasis, their resilience in the face of numerous trials and tribulations across the world, and their invaluable contribution in propagating the Indian ethos, values and ways of life in far off lands.”