The PravasiBharatiya Divas (PBD), the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin to be held in Gandhinagar in Gujarat from January 7-9, will see a number of ‘firsts’ this time, including a session devoted to Girmitiyas and on the Francophone diaspora.
The first would be titled “Bharat kojano” (Know India), where the diaspora youth would be told about India’s age old culture, traditions and hospitality, External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj said at a special briefing.
The second session would be titled “Bharat koMano”, where the youth would be told about modern India and its innovations like Mangalyaan or the Mars mission, about missile technology and expertise in information technology, said SushmaSwaraj who is also the overseas Indian affairs minister.
The evening outing and dinner would be with the participation of four Gujarat universities, with the subjects of petroleum, law, IT and entrepreneurship.
The visiting diaspora youth would be divided into four batches and would take part in interactive sessions with college students, followed by a cultural evening and dinner.
On the second day, after the inauguration of the PBD by Prime Minister NarendraModi, a session would be held on “Opportunities in India: Thrust on Important Initiatives”.
The government’s key schemes like NamamiGanga (Clean Ganga), Smart Cities and Urban Planning, Skill Development and Tourism Development would be highlighted and investments sought from the diaspora businesspersons, she added.
There would also be a session “Achievers of Indian Diaspora”, where diaspora members who have achieved distinction in journalism, law, business etc. would conduct the session.
On January 9, four concurrent sessions would be held on issues of labour and employment in Gulf countries, session on Girmitiyas, session on the Francophone diaspora and role of the Indian diasporaorganisations.
The session on Girmitiyas would see the participation of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) countries where Indian-origin people – or the descendants of Indian indentured labourers – live, like Suriname, Mauritius, Guyana, she said.
Such a session was being held for the first time and would help address their concerns.
Indian envoys of six countries from the Gulf region would take part in the session.
The session would help Indian expatriates voice their concerns about labour, employment etc.
The session on the Francophone diaspora would see members from Mauritius, Reunion Island and Guadeloupe among others air their concerns.
According to SushmaSwaraj, the Indian diaspora from the Francophone countries had a complaint that “no one ever bothers about us”.
According to estimates, six percent of overseas Indians are Francophone or who speak French.
The fourth session on Indian diasporaorganisations would see representatives of Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi groups of various countries coming together.
Gujarat being the host state would host the delegates for dinner and a cultural evening Jan 8 on the banks of the Kankaria lake in Ahmedabad, and the following day on the Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad.
The event would be held in Gandhinagar to mark the centenary of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa.