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1,200 NRIs to attend 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas'
January 05, 2003 01:51 IST
Nearly 1,200 non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin from 55 countries are expected to attend the first 'Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas' to be celebrated in New Delhi from January 9 to 11.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurate the conference, followed by an invocation by sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and Shehnai wizard Ustad Bismillah Khan. He will also present the 'Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards' to ten eminent NRIs and PIOs.
Mauritian Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who will be honoured along with nine others, will deliver a special address at the conference.
The programme for the three-day meet was announced at a joint press conference by J C Sharma, secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, L M Singhvi, chairman of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora and Amit Mitra, secretary general of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which is hosting the meet in coordination with the External Affairs Ministry.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan and Defence Minister George Fernandes will also address the conference.
Noted NRIs and PIOs, including Nobel laureates Amartya Sen and V S Naipaul, former Fiji prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry, Malaysian Works Minister S Samy Vellu will be among the attendees.
Singhvi said the report of the Committee on the Indian Diaspora had suggested among others dual citizenship for NRIs and PIOs and measures to convert their remittances into investments in India.
If the government approves the recommendations, it would lead to a great beginning for the NRIs and the PIOs, he said.
Mitra said, "The inspiration behind Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is to foster the bond among Indians [NRIs and PIOs] worldwide, provide all people of Indian origin with the opportunity to renew ties with their ancestral land and build up new alliances and explore new avenues of cooperation."
He hoped that the Diwas would help in increasing the foreign direct investment share of the Indian diaspora resulting in a beneficial and interactive impact on the Indian economy as had happened in China.
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be observed in India and abroad every year on January 9, as it was on this day, in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi had returned to India after almost two decades in South Africa, Singhvi said.
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