Following is the transcript of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017: Curtain Raiser Briefing (January 2, 2017)
Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: Good evening friends and welcome to the first press briefing of 2017. Let me take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very happy and peaceful 2017.
Today as you know we have gathered to give you a briefing on the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017. This is going to be the first PBD to be held under the new format about which External Affairs Minister had briefed you in her press conferences. So we are here to tell you more about this very important event which really marks the engagement with the diaspora for us.
I have with me a very distinguished panel, Secretary Overseas Indian Affairs and CPV, Shri Dnyaneshwar Mulay. Then I have with me Commissioner Industrial Development from the Government of Karnataka, Shri Gaurav Gupta and of course Mrs. Vani Rao Joint Secretary, Overseas Indian Affairs too.
The way we will handle this is Secretary OIA will give you a broad understanding of the program of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and what we expect from it and then Shri Gaurav Gupta will brief you on the Bengaluru specific and rather the Karnataka specific details. After all there is a particular reason why we chose to partner with the government of Karnataka this time so he will brief you in greater detail on that aspect. With that I give the floor to Shri Dnyaneshwar Mulay.
Secretary (CPV & OIA), Shri Dnyaneshwar Mulay: Good afternoon friends. The Ministry is organizing the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention from 7 - 9 January in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is a very important platform for engagement of the government of India and the state governments with the overseas Indian community. PBD has been held traditionally on 9th January every year to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi as a Pravasi from South Africa to India.
Presently there are nearly 3.12 crore i.e. about 31.2 million overseas Indians settled globally, of which nearly 1.34 crore i.e. 13.4 million are Persons of Indian Origin and 1.78 crore i.e. 17.8 million are Non Resident Indians. The first PBD was held in January 2003 in New Delhi. So far 13 editions of the PBD Convention have been held, the last in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in January 2015 which coincided with the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa.
The PBD is often held in cities outside Delhi in partnership with states which have large diaspora populations outside Delhi. PBD Conventions have traditionally seen participation of a large number of Overseas Indians, however the convention was becoming a repetitive event without significant outcomes therefore the PBD format has been revamped under the guidance of Hon’ble EAM. The Government has therefore decided that the PBD Convention will henceforth be held once in two years. As per this decision in 2016, ten PBD Conferences were held in New Delhi on subjects of relevance to both overseas Indian community and the Government of India. To each of these conferences we invited overseas Indians who are domain experts in their respective fields, policy makers and stakeholders in India, enabling a direct dialogue between the overseas Indians and stakeholders in India.
The 14th PBD Convention will be held from 7 to 9 January, 2017, in Bengaluru in partnership with the State of Karnataka with the theme "Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.” We have been working closely with the government of Karnataka and the representative here today, to organize the event and we appreciate the cooperation and assistance which we are receiving from the state government and various departments which are involved on their behalf.
I will now run through some main program elements of the 14th PBD Convention. First, the Youth Pravaasi Divas. On January 7, the Youth PBD will be inaugurated by Shri Vijay Goel, Minister of State Independent Charge for Youth Affairs and Sports and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh. Vice President of Surinam Mr. Michael Ashwin Adhin who is just 36 years old, will be the Special Guest.
Youth PBD seeks to reconnect young overseas Indians with their Indian roots and enhance their awareness of both contemporary India and the culture and heritage of India. The inaugural session will be about the theme "Role of Diaspora Youth in the Transformation of India.” Youth PBD will see participation of 160 Indian origin youth visiting under four of our "Know India” programs, 250 graduate and postgraduate students from the National Service Scheme and 200 students from Bengaluru colleges. This has been arranged so as to have a wider representation.
Highlight of the youth PBD will be sessions on start-ups and innovations which have a social impact in India and start-up ecosystem in Karnataka. The Karnataka government will host a cultural evening focusing on their State’s music and dance forms.
On 8 January, the PBD Convention will be inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister who will deliver the keynote address. Prime Minister of Portugal Dr. Antonio Costa will be the Chief Guest for the inaugural function. Ministers from Malaysia Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu, Special Envoy of the Government of Malaysia for Infrastructure, Dato’ Seri Dr. S Subramaniyam, Minister of Health and Mauritius Minister Mr. Prithvi Raj Singh Roopun will also participate in the PBD as special guests.
The Union Minister of HRD Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Culture and Tourism Shri Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Health Shri J P Nadda, some ministers from the state governments and several Members of Parliament will also participate.
This will be followed by the Chief Minister's session. We invited all the Chief Minister to participate as the PBD is an excellent opportunity for them to connect with the diaspora and also showcase their respective States. Eight Chief ministers have so far confirmed including Karnataka, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry. There will be plenary sessions after lunch, the day culminates with a cultural evening hosted by the Minister of External Affairs to give a glimpse of India's varied forms of dance and music.
On January 9, i.e. the last day of the PBD convention there will be several plenary sessions on issues which are of significance to the Indian diaspora such as immigration to ECR countries, role of diaspora organizations, the Indian community in the Girmitiya countries etc. The Hon’ble President will deliver the valedictory address and confer the prestigious Pravaasi Bhartiya Samman awards on 30 Overseas Indians in India and abroad. From 2017 there will be 30 PBSA awards in each PBD convention as the awards will now be granted once in two years.
On January 9, 2017, Indian missions and consulates all over the world will also celebrate PBD in their respective jurisdictions with participation of the overseas Indian community. I would like to highlight some unique aspects of the PBD Convention this year.
The logo, you might have seen it already, the logo of the PBD was selected through an open competition launched in www.mygov.in earlier this year. We developed a portal www.pbdindia.gov.in which gives program and highlights of the convention and is being updated regularly. Delegate registration is also through this portal. All sessions in PBD 2017 will be in plenary format and there will be no concurrent sessions. This has been done to ensure good attendance in all the sessions. All sessions will be interactive to enable a direct dialogue with the delegates through a designated Q&A session during which Overseas Indian delegates can convey their suggestions and comments. All sessions will be live streamed globally.
One of the attractions at the PBD is an exhibition which will give an opportunity to delegates to know more about the government's ongoing programs and see the vast strides that the nation has taken in various sectors and states. For the first time the PBD exhibition will have five specific themes and zones i.e. Flagship programs of the Government of India, Schemes and programs for NRIs and PIOs, Opportunities in states for Business Investment Tourism, Incentives for NRIs and PIOs etc. then Indian Handicraft and Cultural Bazaar including sale and demonstration by artisans and finally Corporate Sector, where it will feature the Indian corporate sector and PSUs etc.
The highlight of the exhibition is again a pavilion about India's top 20 social innovators which will feature 20 start-ups selected on the basis of nationwide contest organized by the Ministry of External Affairs. The contest which was organized on mygov portal, call for applications from start-ups and innovators who had a social impact in India. The winner will be awarded a certificate and cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh. There will be a designated B2B meeting lounge in the exhibition area, this is being done for the first time. We have launched a B2B platform online www.pbdb2b.in through which delegates can pre-arrange meetings with each other, exhibitors, corporate sector and government official who are participating in the PBD.
To enable enhanced participation of young Indian diaspora, registration fees for this segment have been reduced substantially. The registration fees for group registrations have also been rationalized so that Indian associations, Community organizations and Indian Professional organizations abroad can participate in good numbers. Our Missions and Consulates abroad will also celebrate PBD on 9th January.
More than 4000 delegates are expected to participate. We have very good registrations so far and we are hoping that there will be more registrations in the coming days, particularly from the overseas participants. We look forward to welcoming diaspora groups from Malaysia, Mauritius, UAE and Qatar which are sending groups of Overseas Indians to the PBD. Qatar is in fact sending one of its largest delegations of Overseas Indians to the PBD, nearly 140 persons. We look forward to welcoming all of them at the PBD in Bengaluru.
A mobile app for convenience of delegates has been introduced for the first time. The app PBD 2017 is available in Google Play and Apple App Store and can be installed free of cost. The app will update the delegates about program and other highlights of PBD 2017 and will give real-time updates of the event. Coupled with the fact that the venue will have free Wi-Fi, the app is expected to prove to be a useful tool for delegates on the go. The app is also eco-friendly and in keeping with technology of the day.
We hope that the Convention will enable the government to continue our engagement with Overseas Indian Community, address some issues which pertain to them, take on board their suggestions and feedback. We will also celebrate at PBD, the achievements of the Indian diaspora and take pride in their success. With this I would conclude my opening remarks, if you have any questions I will be happy to take them. Thank you.
Official Spokesperson, Shri Vikas Swarup: I would like to thank Secretary, OIA, for giving this comprehensive briefing on the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. I now turn to our representative from the Government of Karnataka Shri Gaurav Gupta, a senior IAS officer, to brief you on the Karnataka specific aspects of the PBD.
Representative of Karnataka Govt. Shri Gaurav Gupta: Good afternoon and happy New Year to all of you. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention organized by Ministry of External Affairs as a flagship event to connect India to the vast diaspora is being organized 7 - 9th January every year and this time Bengaluru has been chosen as the venue and Karnataka is the host state.
The main events related to Pravasi Bharatiya Divas are, 7th January, the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, with participation of young Indian origin youth. 8th January, the inauguration of PBD by Hon’ble Prime Minister, session with Chief Ministers of various states and the other plenary sessions and 9th there will four plenary sessions and conferment of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards.
Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre has been finalized as the venue for conducting the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. This venue has been visited a number of times. There has been an MoU which has been signed between the Ministry of External Affairs and Government of Karnataka. As part of this, it is decided that the cost of hiring the venue is borne by the State government, the preparatory work and additional infrastructure at event venue is being taken up by the event manager appointed and paid for by Ministry of External Affairs.
Other responsibilities specified in the MoUs are being carried out by the State Government. In particular, issues of media, publicity and the outdoor branding etc. are being taken up by the State Government on the basis of creatives being provided by Ministry of External Affairs. State Government has also provided for budgetary support towards the venue cost, advertisement & media, cultural programs, food, transportation, accommodation etc. and Government has released the necessary funds for this purpose.
Hon’ble Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development, Government of Karnataka has held several meetings, seven meetings to be precise, with the senior officers of all departments concerned. The Ministry of External Affairs has also been present through its representatives in these meetings and beside that there are various committees that have been constituted for successful organizing of Pravaasi Bharatiya Divas. This includes Coordination committee under the chairmanship of far Hon’ble Minister, Monitoring committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka and sub-committees are chaired by Additional Chief Secretaries to the Government.
The State Government is also organizing two sessions and their responsibility has been given to us. 7th January session to showcase start-up ecosystems in Karnataka which is titled "Fuelling Growth Through Disruptive Innovations,” knowing fully well that Karnataka and Bangalore are the start-up centers for India. So "Fuelling Growth Through Disruptive Innovation” is being organized by the Department of Information Technology, Bio-technology and Science & Technology.
Another session will showcase investment opportunities in Karnataka which is titled "Innovate, Invent and Invest in Karnataka.” We all know that Karnataka is one of the major recipient states for foreign direct investments and we look forward to engaging the diaspora for investments and investment opportunities in the State of Karnataka.
Karnataka Government will also be arranging cultural programs on 7th January which will be choreographed and presented by the Department of Culture. This will be followed by dinner for the Yuva Pravasi Bharatiya Divas delegates, again hosted by the State Government. We are also providing for university students participation in the Youth Pravasi Divas programs on the 7th of January.
On the 9th, lunch is also being hosted by the State Government. State Government is also organizing industrial visits on 7th and 10th January. These industrial visits are to various locations of interest, I will specifically mention visit to Information Technology Park Ltd in Whitefield organized by Department of Information Technology and Biotechnology, visit to IAMAI Mobile accelerator NASSCOM 10k start-up warehouse, NASSCOM-IoT Centre of Excellence in Diamond district Domlur organized by Department of Information Technology and visit to the Electronics City Association and Bangalore Bio-innovation Centre Bangalore organized by Department of Biotechnology, Government of Karnataka. And also the fourth visit to High-tech Defence and Aerospace Park Devanahalli. This will be organized by the Karnataka Industries Department.
We are also organizing a number of sightseeing tours which are being organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka, which includes day-sightseeing tours around Bangalore. Mysore, Kabini and such other places by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation on payment basis. I would also like to mention that the State Government has been allocated one thousand square meters of exhibition space at the PBD Exhibition for showcasing the policies, and progress of State Government and public sector undertakings.
The design and execution of this Karnataka pavilion is also being taken up by us. We also are organizing the media & publicity through newspapers, hoardings, airport hoardings, bus shelters and bus branding and through skywalks, gantries and metro pillars etc. Newspaper advertisements will also be taken up on 8th and 9th January by the State government on the basis of the list forwarded by Government of India.
We are organizing a number of liaison officers for assisting the guests and also arranging for protocol. The list of speakers, the MPs of Parliamentary Committees and External Affairs, Chief Ministers of 9 states, Chief Guest and Special guest for Youth Pravasi Divas who are invited and this list of liaison officers has been shared and we have also held one session to brief them about the arrangements required.
Shuttle services are also being provided between the city and the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre, the venue is about the 15 to 20 km away on the Tumkur road and the commute time will be typically about one hour.
As regards to security, a lot of effort has gone into this. Traffic management plan and security plan for the participating dignitaries has been prepared by the Home Department. Additional CCTV cameras and baggage scanners sought by the police department are being arranged and regarding parking space outside the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre and across the National Highway 4 on Tumkur road have been blocked. The NHAI has been asked and they have agreed to remove the median opposite the venue on the event day so that we can have smooth flow of traffic.
Toll free exclusively lanes for movement of PBD delegates during the event days has been arranged. Fire and emergency services are in place. The work of asphalting of four helipads and connecting road to BIEC has been initiated and this will be over soon. 2000 Souvenirs Mysore inlay work on Rosewood is being prepared by Kanaka Handicraft Development Corporation for presentation to the delegates. Karnataka tourist guidebooks are being arranged by the Department for insertion in the delegate kits.
City beautification works have been initiated by the Municipal Corporation of Bangalore i.e. Bangalore Development Authority and Horticulture Department. Action has been initiated for setting up the dispensary & emergency health services in the venue premises. Disaster management plan, a detailed disaster management plan is in place and also there have been special permissions issued by the Commercial Tax Department for transport of goods to and from the venue for the exhibition participants.
Temporary TIN numbers for exhibition participants who wish to sell items is also being arranged. Facilitation desk for dignitaries and delegates is arranged in the airport for coordination between the logistics partner of MEA and the International airport in Bangalore. There are other works which are relating to infrastructure in the city, a road over-bridge near the venue has been completed, uninterrupted power supply is being provided and arrangements have also been made for issue of passes for the registered delegates in consultation with MEA. MEA is printing the passes and the distribution will be taken care of by us. We were providing a center for this purpose. The details of several other programs are with me and as and when required I will share with you.
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