Prime Minister to open Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 8

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New Delhi, Aug 12 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 7th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention at the Chennai Trade Centre in Chennai on January 8, 2009.

President Pratibha Patil will deliver the valedictory address on January 9. She will also confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2009.

The Convention is being organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) would be the institutional partner. Chennai is hosting the Convention for the first time. The last PBD was held in New Delhi.

The 7th PBD will focus on issues relating to the role of Overseas Indians in India's emergence as a global power. Topics for discussion include "Indian Diaspora: Preservation of Language and Culture", "Health Concerns of Indian Diaspora", "Role of Diaspora Youth in the 21st Century India", and "India As An Emerging Power: The Diaspora Factor".

There will be regional working sessions on Diaspora in the Gulf, Asia-Pacific, Africa, USA, Europe, Caribbean and Canada. Another unique feature of the event is the Building-the-Bridges sessions on 'Trade and Industry', 'Culture and Entertainment', 'Education' and 'Philanthropy'. There will also be sessions with state governments on "Need for having a response mechanism for the Indian Diaspora".

A special Trade and Industry Exhibition with participation from Corporate, Financial Institutions, State Governments, NGOs and others will form part of the event. The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) will set up a Market Place at the venue to facilitate business and investment. Arrangements have been made to take delegates on tour to Tirupati, Puducherry, Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) and other places

PBD Conventions provide a platform for exchange of views and networking to the Persons of Indian Origin on matters of common interest.

These Conventions enable the Government of India to better understand the expectations of the Overseas Indians from the land of their ancestors and to acknowledge their role in India's all round development and its efforts to acquire its rightful place in the comity of nations.

Formation of a separate Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in 2004 is a testimony to the importance attached by the Government towards the well-being of the Persons of Indian Origin and their close affinity with India.

Decisions taken by the Government of India as a result of wider consultations held at such Conventions include formulation of the Overseas Citizenship of India Scheme, establishment of Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, conceptualisation of a PIO University, formation of Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin, and setting up of an India Development Foundation.

PBD Chennai is expected to carry forward the constructive engagement with the Diaspora with renewed vigour.

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