Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently broadened the scope of the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards (PBSA) to include NRIs and PIOs, who achieve glory not just abroad, but also to help India’s cause by ‘making philanthropic investments, doing charitable work in India, or contributing to India’s development’

The PBSA is the highest honor awarded to any overseas Indian. It is given by the President of India annually since 2003. As per its official gazette released on 13th July 2016, Modi government has broadened the scope of these awards. Now the scope of these awards will also cover the charitable, philanthropic and developmental activities done in Indian soil.

As per the announcement, 30 such awards will now be given on a bi-annual basis and the PravasiBhartiyaDiwas will be celebrated every alternate January 9, every year. Announcing the new policy, the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, VikasSwarup said that the addition is meant to recognise contributions of both NRIs and PIOs including organisations, to the development programmes in India and through philanthropy for programmes in India. A jury headed by the Indian Vice-President has now also been empowered to make ‘suo-motu’ nominations for at-least 6 persons for the awards – that would be final.

This encouraging move by the Indian Government is expected to motivate people to do philanthropic work in India and the change in policy for PIOs (People of Indian-origin) and NRIs will surely delight the Indian expat community which has always been at the forefront of helping folks back home. One can hope that this will indeed lead to the contribution towards economic uplift of social change back in India.

by Ashwani Srivastva

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