Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on January 9 every year in India. Today marks the beginning of three-day event of the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) which will be organized at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The little-known event is also known as ‘Non-Resident Indian Day’ as it marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in the year 1915 on January 9. It also acknowledges the contribution of Indian community living abroad in the development of India. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated over three days from January 7-9. It is organised by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and is well supported by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region of India.

PM Narendra Modi in his maiden speech in United States Of America (USA) at the legendary Madison Square Garden last year in September announced with zeal that the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in 2015 is to be organised in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Be it USA, Myanmar, Australia or Fiji; Narendra Modi has openheartedly invited people of Indian diaspora to attend the celebrations of 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India. With ‘Make In India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns in fray, it will interesting how the festivities of Prabhari Bharatiya Divas under the leadership of Narendra Modi pans out.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event organised to commemorate the contributions of expatriate and non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin was started by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee under the chairmanship of L M  Singhvi. The event also serves as a platform to discuss concerns and issues related to the Indian Diaspora around the globe. PBD conventions have been held every year since its inception in 2003.

The event holds much importance as it also helps in extensive networking among the Indian community who attend it from various parts of the world. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas programme serves as a platform for them to share their valuable experiences in various fields, be it economic or social. Not many know that individuals who have achieved excellence in their respective fields are also honoured at the event with the prestigious ‘Bharatiya Samman’ award.

Apart from networking and building partnerships, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas function also helps in discussing important initiatives related to trade, investment, emigration, education, culture, health, development of science, and technological advancements.

The venue of the gala event is Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar this year. The convention venue in Gujarat’s capital is all decked up to welcome the Indian diaspora who will arrive in huge numbers from countries across the world. The annual bonding jamboree at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is hosted by Indian authorities for its natives living abroad. More than 3,000 delegates of Indian diaspora are expected to attend the 13th edition of the program initiated by then NDA government in 2003.

The chief guest of the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations would be Guyana President Donald Ramotar. The Guyana President will also be presented the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman’, the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians and people of Indian origin (PIOs).

Private carrier Jet Airways has been designated as the official airline partner for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2015 for the seventh consecutive time, will operate extra flights for the event, its CEO said Tuesday. The airline will operate special domestic sector flights for the convenience of the visiting delegates from all over the world, from Mumbai and New Delhi to Ahmedabad, for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Jan 7-9, followed by the Gujarat summit scheduled Jan 11-13.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will also attend  this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, commemoration to mark the return of Bapu Mahatma Gandhi’s from South Africa 100 years ago.

There also will be a separate function for the youths as Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Gujarat-origin NASA astronaut Sunita Williams is also expected to attend the mega event. (Read: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015: Inaugural session of Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas kicks off)

After the inauguration, a plenary session on ‘Bharat Ko Jano & Bharat Ko Mano‘ (Know India, Believe India), followed by a talk on ‘Thoughts of Gandhi in 21st century referring to youths’. During the ‘Bharat ko Jano‘ session, the youths of Indian diaspora would be told about India’s ancient culture, traditions and hospitality. Whereas in ‘Bharat Ko Mano‘ session the youth would be enlightened about modern India and its innovations, like successful Mangalyaan mission, India’s missile technology, and expertise in Information Technology (IT) field. The officials who are heading several projects in the Make in India, Swachch Bharat, Skill India, Clean Ganga, and Tourism campaigns would tell the diaspora about the schemes.