Bengaluru to host largest gathering of Indian diaspora

Finishing touches being given for 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Published - January 05, 2017 09:33 pm IST

Four helipads have been constructed at the venue.

Four helipads have been constructed at the venue.

Bengaluru: The start up eco system of Bengaluru, which has attracted worldwide attention, will be showcased before the large Indian diaspora that is expected to participate in the three-day 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas starting Saturday.

With more than 6,000 delegates, it will be one of the largest gatherings of the Indian diaspora. Technological advancements and social innovations will be key focus areas for seeking investments from Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) looking for business opportunities in the country.

Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (OIA) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said, "We are trying to create a platform for innovations at Youth Pravasi Divas on Saturday. The start-up environment of Karnataka will be highlighted.”

PIOs from 30 countries are expected to participate in this year’s event. Several states, including Karnataka, will be using the platform to showcase investment potential. “The exhibition area is almost fully booked. The event will be attended by high-level delegates from Portugal, Suriname, Malaysia and Mauritius," said Mr. Mulay.

Stalls by Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, the banking and financial sector, tourism, customs and other government departments lend colour to the two exhibition halls. The stalls of each State have been designed to emphasise their culture and unique selling points. The main hall where all the programmes and speeches will take place can accommodate up to 6,000 guests.

Tourism Minister R.V. Deshpande, who visited the venue to assess the preparation, directed BBMP, BDA and NHAI officials to spruce up roads in the city, particularly those that would be taken by the delegates. He has told them to remove pamphlets and paint flyover pillars.

On Thursday, finishing touches were being given at the venue - Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC).

Tourism Minister R.V. Deshpande, who visited the venue to assess the preparation, directed BBMP, BDA and NHAI officials to spruce up roads in the city, particularly on routes that would be taken by the delegates, by taking down pamphlets and painting flyover pillars that had not been painted.

Britain looking at Indian policy

The Indian diaspora in the UK is waiting to know the policies and plans of the Indian government, said Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom.

Mr. Sharma is the Labour Party MP for Ealing Southall. He is attending the event as part of the delegation from Karnataka. He wants the State and Centre to prepare a blueprint of their plans before seeking investment in the country.

During an interactive session, he said, “We want to listen from the government on how they look at the diaspora. Also, we would like to know polices and plans of various State governments in the country for us. We are also looking at how can we contribute to the growth of the country.”

Mr. Sharma is the patron of British South India Council of Commerce, which organises business meets to promote trade between the UK and Karnataka. Recently, the UK India Karnataka Business Meet 2016 was held at London to promote business activity and partnerships between UK and Indian companies, particular among those who have business activity in Karnataka.

When asked about the impact of trade between India and Britain after Brexit, Mr. Sharma, “The British PM herself has no clues on the future plans. If the government itself is in confusion on addressing the issues, how can the government address the worries of the rest of the world, including businesses.”

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Estimated 4 lakh families from Karnataka living abroad

1.1 lakh in the Middle East

90,000 in the US

Other countries with Kannadiga population: UK, Canada, Australia

Survey of Kannadigas abroad

The NRI Forum Karnataka is likely to conduct a survey of Kannadigas living abroad. It will seek the help of Kannada organisations and Indian embassies in compiling a credible data base of Kannadigas living abroad. The forum estimates that about 4 lakh families from Karnataka reside abroad.

The forum, in association with the State government, will unveil a policy to handle issues pertaining to non-resident Kannadigas on Friday.

PIOCCI Karnataka chapter

The Persons of Indian Origin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PIOCCI)-Karnataka chapter, which will be launched on Friday, will be looking at facilitating investments in Karnataka by PIOs in South Africa, South East Asian and Latin American countries, says Samartha Nagabhushanam, convener of the Karnataka chapter.

“The chamber will engage with the Indian diaspora interested in investing in the country in general and Karnataka in particular by identifying growth sectors in the economy. We are looking at PIOs as entrepreneurs and businesspersons who can participate in the country’s economic growth besides the emotional connect,” he told The Hindu .

The three-day Pravasi Bharathiya Divas will showcase the potential for investment in handicrafts, textiles, jewellery, yoga and traditional medicines.

ORR to be thrown open to the public

Widening of the Outer Ring Road stretch in Jalahalli, which had been stalled for three years, was expedited so that the road, which leads to the venue, would be ready for the conclave. It will be thrown open to the public on Friday. "Even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had expressed concern over the delay in the work on this road," said Mr. Deshpande. He credited the Urban Development Department and the BDA for completing the work on time.

Four helipads

Four helipads have been constructed on the venue with a connecting road for high-level delegates. A special helipad has been built near the exhibition hall for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Demonetisation blues

In their effort to provide convenience to guests, ATM kiosks and bank counters are being set up at the venue. “We do not want delegates to go to the city and stand in queues outside ATMs. Shortage of cash should not create a bad impression,” said Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Secretary (OIA), MEA.

The big event this week

14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Venue: Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre

Bengaluru is hosting the event for the first time

6346 registrations confirmed

More than 1,500 NRIs and 400 floating NRIs will be a part of the event

January 7: Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will focus on innovations & start-ups

Michael Ashwin Adhin, Vice-President of Suriname, will be chief guest for Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 7.

PM Narendra Modi to deliver keynote address on January 8

Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa will be the chief guest on January 8

Chief Ministers of more than 8 States will host sessions on January 8

240 artistes from across the country to perform on January 8

President Pranab Mukherjee will confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to 30 achievers on January 9

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