Bengaluru– India’s tech hub has been decked up to stage the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) from Saturday, and host the Indian Diaspora with the warm hospitality and flavour of Karnataka.
“As the state is hosting the three-day event for the first time, we are making it to be bigger and better than previous editions held in other cities over the years,” state Industries Minister R. V. Deshpande told IANS here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the mega event on Sunday and deliver the keynote address in the presence of Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa as the chief guest.
Sponsored by the External Affairs Ministry with apex industries bodies CII and FICCI and the Karnataka government as the host state, the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Day is being held at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on the city’s outskirts.
“Over 6,350 delegates, including 1,500 NRIs and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) from about 70 countries across the world have registered to attend the mega event,” said Deshpande.
The theme of the event — “Redefining engagement with Indian diaspora” — is to reconnect the Diaspora youth with their roots and enhance their awareness about Indian culture.
Elaborate security and vehicular traffic arrangements have been made to ferry the delegates and VIPs safer, smoother and quicker to the venue.
“We are showcasing the garden city and the state to the overseas Indians for visiting Karnataka as often and explore our flora, fauna, heritage sites, pilgrim centres and historical places dating back to centuries,” said the minister.
Celebrated every alternate year since 2015 in January second week, the biennial event commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915 and provides a common forum for addressing issues concerning the Diaspora, especially NRIs and PIOs.
“The event is also a great opportunity for us to attract investments and talent sourcing by the overseas Indians, as Bengaluru is the country’s start-up capital and has been the Silicon Valley of the east,” asserted the minister.
The state is also exhibiting its industrial prowess in a special pavilion at the venue for NRI entrepreneurs to set up their enterprises in diverse sectors.
“Among the overseas delegates, most of them hail from the US, Britain, Europe, South Africa, South East Asia and the UAE,” Despande said.
The event will commence with a special session on ‘Role of Diaspora in the Transformation of India’ in the presence of Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and Minister of State for External Affairs General V. K. Singh on Saturday.
Besides Goel, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Suriname Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin will address the delegates on the occasion.
About 10 plenary sessions will be held over the next three days on various topics, including two on start-ups and disruptive innovations and investment opportunities in Karnataka.
President Pranab Mukherjee will confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards and delivery the valedictory address on Monday.
Other Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javedkar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers H. N. Ananth Kumar and Niti Ayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant are among those who will address the gathering at the plenary sessions.
Chief Ministers of at least seven states are attending the event.
The state’s Kannada and culture department has organised cultural shows in the evenings to entertain the delegates for all the three days.
The 13th edition was held on January 7-9, 2015 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.