The Union Government of India celebrates Pravasi Bhartiya Divas or Non Resident Indian Day on 9th of January each year, to commemorate the achievements of the individuals of Indian origin, in their respective fields; and also to persuade them to bring their knowledge and expertise to Indian soil.
The day also marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa on 9th January 1915 and he is presented as a symbol of a change and development a Non Resident Indian could bring into India. Mahatma Gandhi inculcated his experiences of 21 years as a Civil Rights Activist in South Africa into India’s freedom struggle; finally freeing her from the clutches of British Empire.
The Government of India believes that a NRI has a global exposure in terms of business and development strategies around the world; therefore, if provided with an opportunity they will infuse those ideas and experiences on their mother land, contributing to her development.
The first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was celebrated on 9th January 2002 and was observed annually till 2015. A decision to make the event biannual was taken by the Ministry Of External Affairs in 2016, since then it is celebrated every second year.
History of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
A high level committee under the chairmanship of L.M. Singhvi was appointed in September 2001 by the Union Government of India to look into the matters of Non Resident Indians and the people of Indian origin who have migrated to other parts of the world.
The committee presented its report to then Prime Minister of India Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 8th January 2002 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It its report the committee recommended establishing dialogues and interaction with Indian Diaspora abroad; to address to their issues as well as to gain from their knowledge and expertise. The Prime Minister announced the observation of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas on 9th of January from the next year. The date was chosen to mark the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa on 9th January 1915.
The recommendations of the Committee were aimed at addressing the issues those concern India’s own children residing outside, and also to commemorate their effort towards spreading the Indian culture and values to other parts of the world. A decision was also made to felicitate those who have made commendable achievements in their respective fields; by conferring to them “Pravasi Bhartiya Samman”.
The Need for Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
There had been huge migrations from Indian soil, both before independence as well as after India gained Independence; which has continued till today. India has the world’s largest overseas population, with over 16 Million NRIs residing in other parts of the world.
There is an Indian Community in every part of the world; so much so that the sun never sets on it. These people have become an integral part of their country of resident; but still retain their Indian culture and values. They represent an India outside India and it is the Government of India’s responsibility to look into the matters those concern them.
Apart from felicitating individuals for exceptional achievements; the celebration also provides a dais for addressing the issues concerning the Indian Diaspora. Issues like the consular difficulties they face during their visit to India, the reception they get in their own motherland or the courtesy they think should have been extended to them by the government and other organizations.
Indian Diaspora has a high potential for bringing scientific, cultural and economical development in India. Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is an event where they can interact with the Government of India and chart out a future plan for the development of their motherland; be it in science & technology or infield of education.
The basic idea behind the organization of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is to address the difficulties NRIs face while visiting India or even in their respective country of resident; and, in return to persuade them to bring back their experiences and ideas to contribute into the development of India.
Since 2016 the Government of India has also introduced the “Overseas Citizenship of India”, a limited dual citizenship for the people of Indian origin residing outside India in an attempt to provide them easy access to their motherland and contribute to her development.
Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (RPBD)
The Ministry of External Affairs of India organizes the Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas outside India to interact with the Indian community there and familiarize them with Government’s policies and decisions, also addressing the issues of their concern; in a bid to encourage them to contribute to India’s development.
Till 2018, 10 Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas have been organized by the Ministry of External Affairs-
- First RPBD was held in New York, USA on September 24th
- Second RPBD was held in Singapore from 10th to 11th October 2008.
- Third RPBD was held in Hague, Netherlands on 19th September 2009.
- Fourth RPBD was held in Durban, South Africa, from 1st-2ndOctober 2010.
- Fifth RPBD was held in Toronto, Canada from 8th – 10th June 2011.
- Sixth RPBD was held in Pailles, Mauritius from 27th to 28thOctober 2012.
- Seventh RPBD was held in Sydney, Australia from 10th to 12thNovember 2013.
- Eighth RPBD was held in London, UK from 16th to 18th October 2014.
- Ninth RPBD was held in Los Angeles, USA from 14th-15thNovember 2015.
- Tenth RPBD was held in Singapore from 6th to 7th January 2016.
The Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas addresses a large number of issues like- culture, science & technology, economy; as well as the issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
Previous “Pravasi Bhartiya Divas” Venue and its Chief Guests
The Union Government of India had celebrated 14 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas till 2018; while, the 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is scheduled to be held at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh from 21st to 23rd January 2019. Below is the list of Previous Pravasi Bhartiya Divas held in India with dates and venue-
- 1st Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 9th to 11thJanuary 2003.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth; Prime Minister of Mauritius was the chief Guest for the occasion.
- 2nd Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 9th to 11thJanuary 2004.
Shri Bharrat Jagdeo; President of Guyana was the Chief Guest for the occasion.
- 3rd Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Mumbai, Maharashtra from 7th to 9th January 2005.
Shri J.R. Ajodhia, Vice President of Suriname was the Chief Guest for the occasion.
- 4th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Hyderabad (Now Telangana) from 7th to 9th January 2006.
Shri Ahmed Kathrada; political activist from South Africa was the chief guest of the occasion.
- 5th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 7th to 9thJanuary 2007.
Professor S. Jayakumar; Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 6th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 7th to 9thJanuary 2008.
Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam; Prime Minister of Mauritius was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 7th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Chennai from 7th to 9thJanuary 2009.
Dr. Ramdien Sardjoe; Vice President of Suriname was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 8th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 7th to 9thJanuary 2010.
Dr. Khalid Hameed; Chairman of the Alpha Hospital Group, UK, was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 9th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 7th to 9thJanuary 2011.
Sir Anand Satyanand; Governor General of New Zealand was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 10 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Jaipur, Rajasthan from 7th to 9th January 2012.
Hon. Kamla Persad Bissessar; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 11th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Kochi, Kerala from 7th to 9th January 2013.
Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag; President of Mauritius was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 12th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at New Delhi from 7th to 9thJanuary 2014.
Sri G.Palanivel; Federal Minister for Natural Resource and Environment, Malaysia, was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 13th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 7th to 9th January 2015.
Mr. Donald Rabinderanauth Ramotar; President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was held at Bangalore, Karnataka from 7th to 9th January 2017.
Dr. Antonio Costa; Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal was the Chief Guest of the occasion.
- 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is scheduled to be held at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh from 21st to 23rd January 2019.
Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth; the Prime Minister of Mauritius will be the chief Guest on the invitation of Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi.
Events of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Celebration
The celebration is a three day affair, arranged by the Ministry Of Overseas Indian Affairs, which was merged with the External Affairs Ministry in 2016; in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers Of Commerce and Industry. If organized outside Delhi the concerned state government plays as the partner in the function.
Indian Diaspora across the world are open heartedly invited to share their concerns as well as thoughts and ideas about the scientific, political, economical development of India. Non Resident Indians who have made commendable contribution in their respective fields are felicitated and encouraged to contribute in whatever way they can, to the development of India.
During the three day long observation, various programs are organized where the Indian Diaspora interacts with the Ministers and Officials of India and other important business personalities of India. Issues like trade, education, investment, emigration, culture, health, science and development are discussed with the Indian Diaspora; in a bid to persuade them to impart their expertise in India’s development.
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2019 Held in?
The 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be held at Varanasi from 21stJanuary to 23rd January 2019. For the first time the dates for the functions have been changed, conceding to the demands of Indian Diaspora to attend the Mahakumbh at Prayagraj on 24th January and Republic Day Celebrations at Delhi on 26th January.
The first day of the 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be dedicated to the youth; marked by interactive sessions between Indian Youth and young Indian Diaspora. This gives an opportunity to young Indian aspirants to connect with considerably young NRIs or PIOs (People of Indian origin) who have made it big in the field of science, technology, education, politics etc. It also provides them to know the developments around the world in their respective field of interest.
On 22nd January the 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be inaugurated by the Chief Guest followed by an opening speech by the Prime Minister of India. The last two days of the event are marked with many sessions based on issues like- Cyber capacity of India, Opportunities and challenges in giving back to India, cultural programs solar power, global warming, development, artificial intelligence etc.
Dinners will also hosted by Indian Ministers in the honor of Indian Diaspora and other invitees.
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2019 in Varanasi
The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2019 which is to be held on 21st to 23rdJanuary 2019, is actually a week of events for the invitees; including the Mahakumbh at Prayagraj and Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi. Date wise activities with the time of the events is given below-
The official website for the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2019 was launched on 15th September 2019. The registrations will be opened till 15thNovember 2018. Any individual or group can register to witness the events by paying required fee.
Day 1 – 21st January 2019, Monday
The Day 1 of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be observed as the Youth PBD or the Youth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and Uttar Pradesh State PBD.
Time 9:30 AM to 11 AM
Event: Inauguration of Youth PBD
The Youth PBD and the Uttar Pradesh Youth PBD will be jointly inaugurated by the Hon’ble External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj and the Minister of State, Independent charge for youth affairs and sports- Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
Mr. Himanshu Gulati, Member of Parliament, Norway, will be the special guest; and, His Excellency Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Member of Parliament New Zealand will be the guest of honor.
Time 11:30 A.M. To 13:00 P.M.
Interaction with the younger members of Indian Diaspora. Provides an opportunity to the young Indian Diaspora to connect to their roots.
Time 13:00 P.M. to 14:30 P.M.
Lunch for the guests hosted by Shri Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of state (Independent charge) for youth affairs and sports.
Time 14:30 P.M. To 21:00 P.M.
The young Indian Diaspora will interact with the students of the B.H.U. (Banaras Hindu University) and exchange their views on several issues; followed by the dinner hosted by the Shri Chetan Chauhan, Minister of state for Sports and youth welfare.
From 11:00 P.M. Onwards
Inauguration of Uttar Pradesh state youth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas; followed by cultural and classical programs informing the guests about Indian culture and heritage.
Day 2 – 22nd January 2019, Tuesday
Event: Inauguration of 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Convention
Time 10 A.M. To 12:30 P.M.
Plenary I – The 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be inaugurated by the Chief Guest His Excellency Shri Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius; in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and other dignitaries.
The inauguration will be followed with a speech by the Prime Minister of India. The two Prime Ministers will jointly unveil a plaque of the Mauritius Diaspora Centre.
The unveiling of the plaque will be followed by a quiz award ceremony- Bharat Ko Janiye; and at last group photographs.
Time 13:00 P.M. To 14:30 P.M.
Lunch for the delegates hosted by the Government of India.
Time 14:00 P.M. To 15:30 P.M.
Plenary session II on the topic- “Developing Cyber Capacity Of India”.
Time 16:00 P.M. To 17:30 P.M.
Plenary session III on the topic- “Giving Back to India: Opportunities and challenges”
Time 18:00 P.M. To 19:30 P.M.
Cultural programs organized by the Indian Council for cultural Relations.
Time 20:00 P.M. onwards
Dinner for the guests hosted by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs; Government of India.
Day 3 – 23rd January 2019, Wednesday
Time 9:00 A.M. To 10:20 A.M.
Plenary session IV on “Indian community organizations working for Indian nationals in distressed situation”.
Time 10:20 A.M. To 11:40 A.M.
Plenary Session V on “Role of Indian Diaspora in Capacity Building Of Artificial Intelligence In India.
Time 11:40 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
Tea break for the guests.
Time 12:00 P.M. to 13:30 P.M.
Plenary Session VI on “Role Of Indian Diaspora In Capacity Building for Affordable Waste Management.
Time 13:30 P.M. To 15:00 P.M.
Lunch hosted by Shri Ram Naik, Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
Time 15:00 P.M. To 16:30 P.M.
Plenary session VII on “Role Of Indian Diaspora In Capacity Building For Affordable Solar Power.
17:00 P.M. To 18:30 P.M.
Valedictory session and Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ramnath Kovind.
Time 20:00 P.M.
Dinner hosted by the President of Indian Council Of Cultural Relations- Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
Day 4 – 24th January 2019, Thursday
The guests willing to witness the Mahakumbh at Sangam, Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) will be transported to Prayagraj in special Volvo buses, and the arrangements for their stay will be made in well equipped and comfortable tents, as per their choice. Arrangements will also be made for the guests to take a dip into the holy Sangam.
Day 5 – 25th January 2019, Friday
After attending the Kumbhmela, the participants will travel to New Delhi by special trains in 2 tier A.C. coaches.
Day 6 – 26th January 2019, Saturday
The delegates of the PBD 2019 will be given special passes to witness the 70th Republic Day Celebration of India.
Themes of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
The recent Pravasi Bhartiya divas have been themed. The themes of the respective years are given below-
- Theme of 2014 “Engaging Diaspora: Connecting across generations”.
- Theme of 2015 “Apna Bharat Apna Gaurav: Connecting Across Generations “.
- Theme of 2017 “Redefining Engagement With Indian Diaspora”.
- Theme of 2018 “Ancient Route, New Journey”.
- Theme of 2019 “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”.