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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to strengthen the engagement of the overseas Indian community with the Government, reconnect them with their roots and celebrate their achievements and contributions. PBD is celebrated on January 9 as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa to lead Indiaâ€™s freedom struggle.
In 2015 the Government of India revised the format of PBD and re-energized its engagement with the Indian Diaspora to enable sustained and more substantive engagement. Following the review, the PBD Convention will be held once in two years in a city outside Delhi. In the intervening year, smaller, outcome-based PBD Conferences will be organized in New Delhi on issues of concern to the Indian Diaspora. It was decided that Indian Missions and Consulates will also celebrate PBD every year.
Through the first series of PBD Conferences which commenced in February 2016 the Government is proactively engaging with the Overseas Indians in an issue-based dialogue.
As a run up to PBD 2017, 10 PBD Conferences (panel discussions) have been held in 2016 on issues of importance to the Indian Diaspora. Domain experts from the Diaspora, and stakeholders and policy makers based in India have been invited for day-long deliberations on various topics. Their recommendations have been submitted to the Government of India for consideration. At the 14th PBD Convention in January 2017, each PBD Conference will present their recommendations, and the Action Taken Report to PBD delegates for their suggestions and comments.
The 14th PBD Convention January 2017:
PBD 2017 which will focus on the theme â€œRedefining engagement with the Indian Diasporaâ€ will
Background for Plenary Session V
This Session on â€œConnecting Contemporary India to Diaspora in Girmitiya Countries: Link to past for a shared futureâ€ will discuss ways to develop the â€˜India Connectâ€™ - linking with the Diaspora as a strategic asset.
Under the PBD 2016 Conference titled â€œConnecting Contemporary India to Diaspora in Girmitiya Countries: Link to past for a shared futureâ€ organised on 23rd August 2016, in New Delhi attended by domain experts from the diaspora, stakeholders and policy makers identified a range of areas to engage with Indian Diaspora in the Girmitiya countries (Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago).
Some important recommendations made by the participants were:
The recommendations of the PBD Conference were submitted for consideration and follow up.
The Plenary session in PBD 2017 will focus on opportunities to connect Overseas Indians in Girmitiya countries with India and its culture and heritage. It will address recording research and documenting the achievements and contributions of Overseas Indian in Girmitiya countries. It will identify ways to engage Overseas Indians in the social and development efforts of India especially the second generation youths.
The session will discuss and understand the culture and society of Girmitiyas to integrate the Diaspora with the local communities. It will promote Indian arts, culture, Yoga with the help of missions in Girmitiya countries amongst many others.
Some of the key areas of discussion include the following: