President presents Pravasi Bharatiya Samman to 14 NRIs

President Pratibha Patil on Sunday called upon Indians settled abroad to identify common interests and explore activities that would benefit them and the citizens here.

Our attempt is to engage with the Indian community overseas in a mutually beneficial manner in all spheres of life and nation building, she said at the conclusion of the three-day-long Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations here.

Pointing out that India had a gigantic task of nation building ahead, the President said the government was focusing on rapidly expanding the coverage and improving the quality of education, health services and infrastructure, combined with conserving and improving the environment and maintaining macro-economic stability.

As India grew rapidly, it held out immense opportunities to the world.

“Our economy has been robust in the recent turbulent times, because of the contribution of services and manufacturing sectors, as also of the traditional sectors including, agriculture, animal husbandry and informal services. The government's efforts at reducing poverty, imparting schooling and skills, improving health and habitats, and increasing participation of women and socially disadvantaged groups in economic activity can only succeed with the help and co-operation of private initiatives and civil society,” she said.

Calling upon the Indian diaspora to participate in at least one endeavour in India for building a better future for the disadvantaged sections of society, Ms. Patil said their contribution in the health and education sectors, in efforts to make India slum-free, and their participation in infrastructure development projects would be most welcome.

Fourteen overseas Indians, including New Zealand Governor-General Anand Satyanand, received this year's Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for contributions to their countries of domicile and enhancing India's image globally.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi announced the names of the winners at the concluding day of India's annual convention to connect with its 27 million diaspora living in 150 countries, which also included the Indian Community Benevolent Forum in Qatar.

The other awardees are: Professor Veena Harbhagwan Sahajwalla (Australia), Lata Pada (Canada), Harindrapal Singh Banga (Hong Kong-China), Mohammad Munir Nazir Hassan Ansari (Israel), Upjit Singh Sachdeva (Liberia), Tan Sri Dato Ajit Singh (Malaysia), Saleh Wahid from (Netherlands), Mohiaddin Syed Karimuddin (Saudi Arabia), Mano Selvanathan (Sri Lanka), Mohan Jashanmal (United Arab Emirates), Baroness Sandip Verma (U.K.), and Ashook Kumar Ramsaran and Rajiv Shah (U.S.).