Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in his home constituency Varanasi. The Indian diaspora conclave is likely to be attended by at least 5,000 delegates from overseas candidate community.
After the inaugural session, PM Modi will also hold talks with his Mauritian counterpart Pravind Jugnauth.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Monday, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and said the Indian diaspora has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians and India.
For the first time, the three-day-long convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in Varanasi.
The theme of this year’s convention is ‘role of Indian diaspora in building new India’, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
Jugnauth will be the chief guest of the convention, while Himanshu Gulati, member of Parliament of Norway, will be the special guest. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, member of Parliament of New Zealand, will be the guest of honour.
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the concluding function on January 23.
After Pravasi Divas, the guests will be taken for a visit to the Kumbh Mela on January 24 where also a tent city has been set up.
A cultural village has been developed in Prayagraj, showing the history from the Indus Valley Civilisation. The ‘pravasis’ will be taken to New Delhi on the night of January 24 and will have a “Delhi darshan” the next day.
They will also witness the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
Uttar Pradesh is the partner state for the event and a novel feature this year is the concept of ‘Varanasi hospitality’ under which local people are hosting the Indians living abroad at their homes as “family guests”.
The First Plenary Session on ‘Engagement with younger members of Indian Diaspora’, co-chaired by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore and Singh, was held on Monday.
Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was also held on Monday where renowned NRIs with family roots in the state took part.
The decision to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was taken by the late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the first event was celebrated on January 9, 2003 here.
January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is now celebrated once in every two years and provides a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and reconnect with their roots, the statement said.