Around 950 delegates from India and 42 other countries have registered for the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2007, the annual conclave of the Indian diaspora, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Vigyan Bhavan Jan 7. Over 160 delegates from India alone have confirmed their participation in the event being organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)). The event is expected to act as a platform for networking between overseas Indians and their native country. The focus areas in the fifth edition of PBD, which has the theme 'Rooting for the Roots', would be social issues and how Indians abroad can contribute to India's development.
There will be dedicated sessions on education, healthcare, women, youth and investment. Among the prominent overseas Indians coming for this year's event are management guru C.K. Prahalad, who will be a panelist in the plenary session on challenges of India's development in the global context, and Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) chairman Thomas Abraham, who will speak on how to engage PIOs in India's development process. A working session on healthcare in the context of India's development will see Dr. Subramaniam Balasubramaniam, president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), and Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, special assistant on bio-defence to US President George W. Bush, participating.
Malaysia's Works Minister and Malaysian Indian Congress president Samy Vellu, a person of Indian origin, will be the guest of honour in a plenary on 'How to get $1.5 trillion of capital investment into India'. Sam Pitroda, chairman of India's Knowledge Commission, will be the chief guest in a plenary that will look into how India can leverage the knowledge skills of its diaspora. The chief ministers of Bihar, Delhi - the partner state for the event - Haryana and Gujarat will be attending the interactive sessions with states that are being organised with the view to explore partnership and investment opportunities in the states.
This year, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar will be attending the event as the chief guest.Sessions apart, cultural programmes are also being organised in the evening on all three days. This will include an evening on folk dances of India, a dance performance by well-known Malayali cine actress Shobhana, another by Hindi film choreographer Shiamak Davar's troupe and a sarod recital by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash. PBD is the flagship event of the MOIA. It aims to connect the 25 million-strong Indian diaspora spread across 110 countries.