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Friday, 9. January 2015 - 12:15 Uhr

Importance of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas

A grand celebration of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is being made from 7th to 9th January, 2015 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India, where P M Narendra Modi and President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar as Chief Guest were present. Other foreign dignitaries participating in event are Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa. From Indian side dignitaries like Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Minister of Telecommunications and IT, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, Minister of State for Finance, Government of India were present. From the host State, Governor of Gujarat and Chief Minister of Gujarat were present. Government of India started celebrating  Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) on 9th Januarry since  2003 during NDA regime. The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi on this day of 9th January, 1915 from South Africa to Mumbai.

 Previous governments exceopt NDA government has had lackadaisical attitude towards PBD in past. But, NDA government and particularly Modi government realized its importance and need and its global economic and political implications. There are two types emigrants, one those who went to British, French and  Dutch colonies as indentured labours between 1830s and 1970 under compulsion due to severe economic hardship and poverty, and other others who were well off and went mostly after independence to other western countries for pursuing study, jobs and business etc.  The first category of people who went as indentured labourers were mostly from Eastern UP and Bihar and a few from Tamilnadu and Andhra. And these people were tricked, duped, exploited brutally assaulted and humiliated by colonial powers in colonies. Descendants of these people over the years have made rapid progress after independence of these colonies are emotionally very much connected with India, but Indian government did not show any discernible sensitivity and concern to these people  till NDA government realised the same and started PBD in 2003.These people are normally called the people of Indian origin (PIO). However, the well off people who went after independence to other countries and settled there were well taken care by previous governments, and they are normally overseas citizens of India (OCI).

 PM Modi extended the same benefits to both PIO and OCI. He has extended life long visa, visa on arrival and provided exemption to go to police station after a certain period in case of PIOs. Now these people can freely travel in India and will be able to develop more strong bond with the country of their forefathers. India can help them in retaining and strengthening the culture of their  ancestors, and will always have a special feeling for India as their second country. In the event of any economic, political and environmental crisis in those countries where a large number of PIO and OCIs are there, India can come to their rescue and vice versa. Bilateral cooperation in trade, commerce and tourism with these will provide win-win situations for India as well as those countries where large Indian diaspora exists. India may raise the legitimate concerns of people of these countries in international forum such as UN, World Bank, IMF and other multilateral agencies. India also may get benefited by having support of these countries during voting at multilateral institutions on crucial global issues. This will increase the soft power of India. India should consider to provide low budget tourism opportunity to people of small countries like Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname and Fiji etc by providing low cost air travel, low cost budget hotel at places like Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Patana, Kolkata, Delhi, Mubbai and Chennai etc which is connected with the lives of their forefathers and very close to their hearts. It is hoped that Modi government will be able fulfill the aspirations people of Indian origin living abroad that will be in interest of both India as well as those countries where large Indian diaspora is there.  


Tags: Pravasi Bhartiya Divas PBD Indian Diasporal PIO OCI 

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