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PBD cost about Rs 8 crore

January 12, 2004 15:06 IST

Despite being better organised this time, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which cost about Rs 9.5 crore (Rs 95 million) last year, is expected to cost Rs 8 crore (Rs 80 million) this year, according to J C Sharma, secretary, ministry of external affairs.

Addressing a joint press conference with FICCI Secretary-General Amit Mitra at the conclusion of the second day of the conference, Sharma said the reason for this was 'better money management.'

Both Sharma and Mitra said the response to this year's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an annual gala which started last year, was overwhelming.

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"Every session had a life of its own, and there was standing room only at some of the sessions, like the one on ethnic media," said Sharma.

"There has been a qualitative change, in the sense that while last year the participants were individuals, this time the registration came from organisations like the American hotel associations, doctors' associations, and they were all here to do business," he said.

"They went to the ministers concerned, they talked about specific issues and agendas, joint ventures, and raised lots of queries."

Most of the logistical difficulties that were faced last year had been successfully resolved this year, according to feedback from the delegates, he added.

While admitting that while organising an event of such magnitude, there were bound to be a few complaints, he said the successful organisation of this Pravasi Bharatiya Divas would encourage participants to recommend India a convention destination.

Delhi lacked a world-class convention centre, and the government had allotted Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) to build one. "These are spin-offs of such an event," he said.

Mitra said over 60 per cent of the registrations for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas had been done online, which was quite an achievement.

Ramananda Sengupta in New Delhi