Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: Some have a record of 100% attendance

The 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will begin on Saturday at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre. For some, it is an opportunity to ‘give back’ to their country. For others, it is a platform to meet PIOs from other countries.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

BENGALURU: Armed with a memorandum to be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kareem Abdulla is geared up for the 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which begins in Bengaluru on Saturday. Abdulla is part of the 140-member strong contingent from Qatar. He is a member of several organisations representing Indians in the West Asia.

Having attended every edition since its inception in 2003, Mr. Abdullah said the event presents an opportunity to place problems of Indians living abroad before the government.

Like Mr. Abdullah, many PIOs have participated in multiple editions of the mega event, if not all. And they are back for the 2017 version too, which is touted to be the biggest ever.

For some, it is an opportunity to ‘give back’ to their country. For others, it is a platform to meet PIOs from other countries.

“We are also asking the government to help rehabilitate NRIs who have returned to India due to the condition of the job market in Qatar,” said Mr. Abdulla, who is vice-chairman of the Pravasi Committee in Qatar.

While interactions with officials is one reason for many Indians to keep their date with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, some use it as an opportunity to meet members of global associations from other countries.

For instance, the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) always holds a meeting before the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Prakash Shah from the USA, who is a part of GOPIO, says, “GOPIO has 70 chapters in 30 countries. This is the first time we have held a conference in Bengaluru. We use this occasion mainly to meet other PIOs.”

‘Forging ties with our home’

But some look to forge ties with India and try giving back something. Like Asha Samant, an Associate Professor in dental medicine in the USA. Having participated in two editions of PBD, she is looking for opportunities to contribute to the health sector in India.

“India is my home and I am concerned about the health issues of the diaspora. I would like to help educate people here and make them aware of health issues, which are ignored by many Indians because of limitations of income or knowledge. We (doctors) are also seeing if the government will show an interest in us returning to India to serve in the healthcare sector in some way for free,” she said.

Qatar PIOs seek Aadhaar card

Delegates from Qatar will be submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the issue of Aadhaar cards to Indians in that country. They will seek protection of NRIs’ money in Indian banks, renovation and upgradation of Calicut International Airport to enable operations by ‘wide-body’ aircraft, and a single point of contact in the Ministry of Human Resource and Development to address matters related to educational qualification in the light of engineers being asked to register with the UPDA in Qatar. This demand is said to be causing problems to those who graduated from Indian universities decades ago. With even Indians abroad feeling the effects of demonetisation, they are asking for sufficient new currency to be made available at money exchange counters.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 8:54:04 AM |

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