With only a month to go before the curtain rises for the 5th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the annual conclave of the Indian diaspora, over 750 delegates from across the world have confirmed their participation. This is the fourth time the capital is hosting the event, to be held Jan 7-9, organised by the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Delhi government.
After Delhi played host to the first three editions of PBD until 2004, the next two were held in Mumbai and Hyderabad successively.According to a CII official, block bookings have been made in all categories of hotels in the city to accommodate the delegates, expected to number around 1,200.Asked how would the latest event be different from the earlier ones, the official said: "This time we will have a very distinguished panel of speakers like (Nobel Laureate) Amartya Sen and (management guru) C.K. Prahlad.
"This apart, we are providing a networking platform which will allow members of the Indian diaspora to interact with the Indian industry. Logistically too, PBD 2007 will be much better than the previous editions."The focus of PBD 2007 will be education, health, youth, women and investment.There will also be a conference of parliamentarians of Indian origin, besides separate sessions to deal with issues of the Indian diaspora living in the Gulf, Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, Canada and the US.
There will be a number of plenary sessions focusing on diverse issues like the role of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in promoting India's image abroad, partnership opportunities with Indian states and leveraging technology for development.Exhibitions and functions showcasing the art and cultural heritage and cuisines of India are also planned.Thirteen Indian states have confirmed their participation in the state plenary sessions, said a government official.
"Of these chief ministers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala and Goa have confirmed they will head their state delegations," the official told IANS.Both the inaugural and valedictory sessions of the event will be held at the Vigyan Bhavan convention centre.The annual conclave is seen as a key opportunity for interaction between India and its vast diaspora.In the Hyderabad edition of January this year, the Overseas Indian Citizenship (OIC) card scheme was launched and an agreement signed with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) for improving rural healthcare in India. A remittance service for non-resident Indians was also unveiled.