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As you are aware, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is a very important platform for engagement of the Government of India and State Governments with the overseas Indian community. Last year, we took a decision to revise the format of the PBD Convention, as it was felt that the large Convention format was becoming an event without any substantive engagement with the overseas Indians and was devoid of outcomes. The Government has therefore decided that the PBD Convention will henceforth be held only once in two years. The 13th PBD Convention was held in Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat. In 2015, in place of the PBD Convention, we celebrated the PBD in Delhi on 9 January 2016, and I had the pleasure of interacting live with the Indian community in five countries. Our Missions and Consulates also celebrated the PBD in their respective countries on 9 January.

With the objective of continuous and substantive dialogue with the overseas Indian community in 2016 I am chairing a series of PBD Conferences from February– we have held 7 of these conferences in New Delhi on subjects of relevance to both the overseas Indian community and the Government. To each of these Conferences we are inviting overseas Indians who are domain experts in their respective fields. Policy makers and stakeholders in India also participate in these Conferences thereby enabling a direct dialogue between the overseas Indians and stakeholders in India. I am happy to share with you that these Conferences have been very productive and have seen enthusiastic participation from overseas Indians who have appreciated the efforts being made by the Government, to listen to them and seek their ideas, thoughts and suggestions on the following 10 important issues.

  1. Diaspora contributing to India's Social and Developments Efforts
  2. Delivering Consular Services to overseas Indians
  3. Accelerating Tourism in India
  4. Making India a Preferred Destination for Holistic Health Care
  5. Managing Emigration of Indian workers to ECR countries
  6. Role of Diaspora in Transferring Knowledge and Encouraging Innovation
  7. Documenting history, migration and achievements of the Diaspora in Girmitiya Countries
  8. Problems faced by Indian Students Abroad and NRI Students in India
  9. Connecting with the Indian Diaspora through Social Media
  10. Role of Indian Diaspora Organizations

The reports and recommendations of these Conferences are being sent to concerned Ministries and Departments for their consideration and action. The PBD Conferences will also present their recommendations and Action Taken Report at the PBD Convention next year.

It is my pleasure to join the Chief Minister of Karnataka today to announce that the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention will be held from 7-9 January 2017 in Bengaluru in partnership with the State Government of Karnataka with the theme “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.

 On 7 January, the Youth PBD will be inaugurated by me alongwith Shri Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports. On 8 January, the PBD Convention will be inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister who will deliver the key note address. This will be followed by the Chief Minister's Session to which we have invited all Chief Ministers to participate and address the delegates who are very keen to connect with the States to which they belong. This occasion will also give an opportunity to the State Governments to interact with their respective Diaspora and showcase the opportunities and progress made by their respective States.

On 9 January, the Hon'ble President will confer the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards (PBSA) on overseas Indians who have contributed in their respective fields both in their host countries and also in India.

Among the highlights at PBD 2017 will be an exhibition featuring the flagship programmes of the Government, schemes & programmes for NRIs and PIOs, opportunities in various States, an Indian Handicraft & Cultural Bazaar and a Corporate Corner. The Exhibition will give an opportunity to PBD delegates to get a glimpse of the vast strides that the nation has taken in recent years and the ongoing work in various fields.

Karnataka, our partner state for the PBD is one of the States which sends a large number of Indians abroad every year. The State is also a hub for the information technology industry, bio-technology and has established itself as a hi-tech and aeronautics centre as well. We are very happy to work with the Government of Karnataka to organise PBD 2017. We are receiving excellent cooperation from the State Government which has assured us that the 14th PBD will be a memorable event for the Indian Diaspora. I particularly wish to acknowledge the leadership and commitment of the Chief Minister Shri Siddharamaiah, the meticulous attention of the Minister of Large & Medium Industries Shri R.V. Deshpande; and the officials of the State Government who have been constantly working with our team in Delhi in a last few months.

I am very pleased to invite the overseas Indian community to participate in the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Bengaluru. We look forward to receiving cooperation and support from the Indian community associations and organizations abroad, in making the 14th PBD Convention memorable and productive. By crowd-sourcing on the MyGov Platform we have selected a new logo for the PBD Convention, which will be unveiled today. We have developed a portal for PBD (pbdindia.gov.in) and an online registration portal which will be inaugurated today. Through this portal, overseas Indian delegates can start registering for PBD.

We look forward to working with the Government of Karnataka in making the 14th PBD Convention a successful and productive event.