Overseas Indian Affairs Overseas Indian Affairs

PBD Convention 2017

Since 2003 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to enable engagement of the government with the overseas Indian community and recognize their contribution to the development of India. PBD is celebrated on January 9 as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.

In 2015, the format of PBD was revised to make it more substantive and enable a sustained engagement with the overseas Indian community. Therefore since 2016, PBD Conventions are being held every alternate year. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage directly with the government of India and State Governments; know more about the priorities of the government, programmed and polices aimed at the overseas Indian community, and to discuss their concerns and problems with the Government. These conventions enable networking amongst the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world.

Prime Minister’s keynote address is the highlight of PBD Conventions. State Governments also participate in PBD Conventions, many at the level of the Chief Minister or Senior Ministers, to showcase their respective States and connect with the overseas Indians from their States. During PBD Conventions, the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is conferred by the Hon’ble President on overseas Indians to recognize their contributions and achievements both in India and their country of residence.

The 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention was organized from 7 to 9 January 2017 in Bengaluru by Ministry in partnership with the Government of Karnataka.

The 14th PBD Convention saw the participation of more than 7200 delegates from 72 countries and was the largest so far. A large number of overseas Indians participated from Qatar, UAE, Oman, USA and Malaysia. With the theme "Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora”, the 14th PBD saw 10 interactive Plenary Sessions at which recommendations of the 10 PBD Conferences held in 2016 were presented. Delegates gave their comments and feedback on the recommendations and welcomed the revised and interactive format of PBD Sessions.

Chief Guest in the PBD Convention was the Prime Minister of Portugal Dr. Antonio Costa who has roots in Goa. He was also conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was the Vice President of Suriname Michael Ashwin Adhin, who is among the youngest Indian-origin leaders globally.

Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which was held in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs on 7 January saw MOS for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Vijay Goel, Vice President of Suriname and other dignitaries addressing the young delegates. 160 Diaspora youth visiting India under the Know India Programme participated in the Youth PBD along with more than 400 students from all over India and Bengaluru region.

An exhibition showcasing five themes was organized at the PBD with 130 exhibitors: Flagship programmes of the Government; opportunities in the States; programmes for overseas Indians; Indian Handicraft and Cultural Bazaar and the Corporate Sectors.

In the run up to the PBD, the Ministry organized a contest for selecting 20 start-ups which had a social impact in India. The 20 top innovators who were selected, showcased their products and technologies in the PBD exhibition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked through the exhibition and released a coffee table book about the 20 top social innovators.

The PBD saw participation of nearly 17 States including Karnataka. Five Chief Ministers (Assam, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Karnataka and Maharashtra) addressed delegates in the Chief Ministers’ Session and showcased their respective States as favoured destinations for trade and investment.

Prime Minister’s inaugural address on 8 January was the highlight of the 14th PBD. PM spoke about measures taken by the Government to address welfare of overseas Indian community, pro-active approach of Indian Embassies; and the Government’s schemes and initiatives aimed at overseas Indians.

PM announced that, starting with Mauritius, the Government will put in place new procedures and documentation requirements so that descendants of Girmitiyas from Mauritius could become eligible for OCI cards. He announced a new scheme called ‘VAJRA’, Visiting Adjunct Joint Research Faculty which enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India.

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards were conferred by the President on 9 January on 30 overseas Indians who included Indian community organizations which were recognized for their contributions in various fields in India and abroad. The Indian Missions and Consulates celebrated PBD on 9 January along with members of the Indian community.