Govt shifts gear; now seeks NRI money for rural development

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New Delhi, Jan 4 (UNI) The Indian government today sought the participation of Non- Resident Indians(NRIs) for the monumental task of rural development, with programmes aimed at women empowerment and welfare of children, which is to be the focus of the two-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas beginning January eight Minister for Overaseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi at a Press Conference here made a fervent appeal to NRIs to participate in the development drama that is unfolding in India, saying that they can be a catalyst in this regard.

"The projects we want them to take up primarily relate to women and children in rural areas", Mr Ravi said, adding that their condition leaves much to be desired.

The Minister said the participation by the NRI community can be both by way of investments and philanthropy. A key area where NRIs can join in relates to micro-finance, he said.

From seeking investments for industrial development and growth of services, the Indian government has now shifted gear seeking NRI money for rural development, in tune with the growing emphasis on inclusiveness in policy.

The Minister exuded confidence that the jamboore will be a grand success with confirmation having been received from 1,200 participants and many Chief Ministers taking part in the event.

These include confirmed participation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Shelia Dikshit, Harayana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee may also attend the event, Mr Ravi said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the fifth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) on January eight.

It aims to connect more than 25 million Indian diaspora in 110 countries.

"The meet will essentially highlight issues of social concern and many regional Indian diaspora groups will respond to this," Mr Ravi said.

Unlike the last four versions of the PBD, this year's Conference has been curtailed to two-days instead of the usual three days.

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