BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, December 10, 2020: The role of and contributions of the overseas Indian diaspora is recognized and celebrated as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) on January 9th of every year. Themed “Contributing to Atmanirbhar Bharat”, the 16th PBD is slated to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a valedictory session by President Ram Nath Kovind. In view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 PBD Convention will be held in virtual format.
The website for the 16th PBD was launched by Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, and Dr. S. Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs, marking the commencement of online registration for participation in the convention.
Consul General of India, Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni engaged the Indian diaspora in the area in a meeting providing details of the events, urging and encouraging distinguished leaders to actively participate in the five PBD conferences slated to be held in the run up to the PBD convention. Atlanta’s Padma Bhushan Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University, Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal, Past Senior Vice President GOPIO International and Bawa Jain, Founding Secretary General, The World Council of Religious Leaders are speakers at these conferences.
Divided into three sessions on January 9th, 2021, the Inaugural Session will include Welcome Remarks by Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs, Keynote Address by Chief Guest for PBD, Inaugural Address by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Announcement of BKJ Awards. Plenary Sessions will include discussions on “Role of Diaspora in Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and “Facing Post COVID challenges – Scenario in Health, Economy, Social, and International Relations”. The final Valedictory Session includes National Anthem, Welcome Remarks by Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs, Announcement of Pravasi Bharathiya Samman Awards, Valedictory Address by Hon’ble President of India, Vote of Thanks by Secretary (CPV & OIA), MEA Conclusion of the 16th PBD Convention 2021.The PBD conferences leading up to the convention on January 9, 2021 include :
Role of Diaspora in promotion of Indian Culture abroad on 9 Dec 2020,(0900-1100 Hrs. EST), Targeting US $5 Trillion Atmanirbhar Bharat Economy by boosting MSMEs on 10 Dec 2020 (0700-0900 Hrs. EST), Regional PBD & GCC -India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on December 11, 2020, Forging media and entertainment partnerships to showcase India@75 on 21 Dec 20, (0530-0730 Hrs. EST) and conference on youth on 8 Jan 2021.
The conference Role of Diaspora in promotion of Indian Culture abroad aims at creating cultural bonds and an ecosystem for cultural propagation among the diaspora, bringing together eminent diaspora personalities and associations involved in propagation of Indian culture to discuss innovative ways of leveraging the diaspora to enhance India’s soft power.
Targeting US$ 5 Trillion Aatmanirbhar Bharat Economy by boosting MSMEs will showcase opportunities in India with a view to expanding manufacturing especially with technology-led innovation start-ups, creating the next level in services potential, skilling and placing human capital overseas, trade (inbound and outbound) and financial investment, with a goal to identify short and medium-term opportunities, understand policy changes and incentives required, find capital, ensure technology flows, share best practices and highlight possible macroeconomic solutions.
Regional PBD & GCC aims to bring together eminent experts from the diaspora and the industry to discuss a range issues from diaspora related issues to economic issues in the GCC region. The conference will consist of following two panel discussions including India and the Gulf: Leveraging energy partnerships, investment opportunities and emerging technologies for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and, Skillsets of the future for Indian workers in the Gulf.
Forging Media and Entertainment Partnership to showcase India @75 will bring together growing number of successful diaspora enterprises and eminent diaspora persons engaged in activities in the multi-dimensional world of media and entertainment on one platform with the objective of engaging them for expanding and enhancing India’s soft power.
Bringing together India & Young Achievers & Diaspora Young Achievers from different walks of life is aimed at deepening the Government’s engagement with the rapidly growing population of Youth Diaspora – Children of NRIs, and, 1st to 5th generation PIOs – who have have created a mark in various walks of life such as academics, sports, entertainment, social service, medicine, business, IT and even politics. The Conference will provide a platform for engaging these eminent diaspora youth with India’s accomplished youth, on a similar wavelength and for discussing and exploring ideas to work in different areas that will help create an immense and potent present and future power of India overseas.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is the flagship event of the Government of India and provides an important platform to engage and connect with the overseas diaspora.The date January 9th was chosen to commemorate the greatest pravasi, Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, leading India’s freedom struggle and India’s eventual victory. PBD conventions are commenced in the year 2003. Since 2015, its format has been revised to celebrate the event once every two years and to hold theme-based PBD Conferences during the superseding period with participation from overseas diaspora policy makers, experts, and stakeholders.