Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: State to showcase startup prowess

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What is Pravasi Bharatiy Divas?

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day), is celebrated in India on 9 January each year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
  • The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in Bombay on 9 January 1915.
  • Established in 2003, it is sponsored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs of the government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region of India.
  • A celebratory event is held on 7–9 January each year in an Indian city: a forum for issues concerning the Indian Diaspora is organised and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are given.

How did it start?

  • The decision to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was taken in accordance with recommendations of the High Level Committee (HLC) on the Indian Diaspora set up by government of India under the chairmanship of L. M. Singhvi (L M Singhvi).
  • The then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee after receiving the report of the Committee at a public function at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on 8 January 2002, announced the “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas”(PBD) on 9 January that year. The day was chosen to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India in 1915.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, to be held in Bengaluru

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in Bengaluru from January 7-9, is an opportunity for Karnataka to showcase the rapid strides made by startups here, to the delegates, mostly non-resident Indians (NRIs).
  • The state government, during the three-day event, will focus on exhibiting the state’s strengths in the industrial sector to attract investments.
  • As many as 10 plenary sessions on various subjects will be held over two days.

The sessions

  • The first session will be on “Fueling growth through disruptive innovations startup ecosystem in Karnataka” while the second session is on “Invest Karnataka: Innovate, Invent and Invest in Karnataka.”
  • Major Industries Minister R V Deshpande, who is coordinating between the state and the Centre for holding this mega event, said that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will not be an occasion to sign agreements for attracting investments, but to exhibit the strengths of Karnataka to NRIs and foreigners.
  • He said that the govt wants to drive home a point that Karnataka is the best destination to invest.

The Participants

  • Nearly 3,000 delegates, including 1,700 NRIs, would be participating.
  • Countries which are participating include Australia, Canada, UK, USA, France, the Netherlands and West Asian nations.
  • Chief ministers of seven states have confirmed their participation.

Inauguration & Chief Gust

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive on January 7 evening to inaugurate PBD the next day.
  • Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa will be the chief guest for the inaugural session.

Awards

  • On January 9, President Pranab Mukherjee will present PBD Samman awards to 30 individuals who have excelled in their chosen profession.
  • Karnataka has recommended six individuals for the awards.

Not much awareness about the event

  • Concerned over poor response from NRI Kannadigas to the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the Karnataka government has decided to step up efforts to reach out to them for participation in the event.
  • There is not much awareness about the event among NRI Kannadigas because the event was mostly held in north India.
  • Not only that, most of the NRI’s from Karnataka don’t even know that there is a separate NRI cell in the state to address their grievances.
  • The event is important for NRI Kannadigas as the state government is unveiling a new NRI policy under which norms are eased to attract investment and support system would be provided to address labour, property, marriage and visa related issues.
  • There are about four lakh NRI Kannadigas and most of them are located in the US and Gulf nations.
  • The NRI Forum Karnataka is a government agency formed in 2008 with the responsibility of helping promote the interests of NRIs who invest in Karnataka.

The three-day event will begin a day before the inauguration by the prime minister. On January 7, Surinam Vice President Michael Ashwin Adhin will inaugurate the Youth PBD. The 36-year-old Adhin will address the gathering, comprising largely overseas young Indians.

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