Bengaluru, Jan 8:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday arrived to a roaring welcome at the three-day 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas extravaganza in Bengaluru today. During his address, Modi lauded the Indian Diaspora and said that they represent the best of Indian culture, ethos and values and stated that it has been a priority for the government to personally engage with overseas Indian community. He said 30 million Indians abroad are valued not just for strength in numbers but respected for contributions to India and countries where they live.

Modi’s Portuguese counterpart Dr Antonio Costa who is the chief guest for the event, thanked delegates for the homage to Mario Soares, former PM of Portugal and icon of democracy. He said he is very proud to be invited to be the chief guest at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an event where India respects its citizen living abroad.

Costa during his address, flashed his PIO card and said he is proud to be  person of Indian origin. He speaks about his ties to Goa, to which he traces his roots. Costa said Portugal can be an attractive invest destination and can play an important role in the flow of goods to European and American markets.

Here are the key highlights of Narendra Modi’s speech:

  • Narendra Modi said that the Indian diaspora represents the best of Indian culture, ethos and values.
  • In his address, he stated that 30 million Indians abroad are valued not just for strength in numbers but respected for contributions to India & countries where they live.
  • The Prime Minister said, “Will launch skill development program, Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojna for Indian youth who seek employment overseas”.
  • Modi said FDI not only stands for Foreign Direct investment but also for First Developed India
  • Narendra Modi announced Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana and said the welfare and safety of all Indians abroad is our top priority.
  • The Prime Minister urged to encourage all PIO Card holders to convert their PIO Cards to OCI Cards
  • Modi said the Indian diaspora is the nation’s valuable partner in India’s journey of development and the security of Indian nationals abroad is of utmost importance.
  • At Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Modi said there is a need to turn ‘brain-drain’ into ‘brain-gain’ and your support in this is very important
  • Modi said remittance of close to sixty nine billion dollars annually by overseas Indians makes an invaluable contribution to the Indian economy.
  • Modi stated that Indians abroad are valued not just for their strength in numbers but are also respected for the contributions they make.
  • The Prime Minister said security of all Indians abroad is top priority. ‘Hum passport ka colour nahi dekhte khoon ka rishta dekhte hain’, Modi said.
  • He added saying, EAM Sushma Swaraj has particularly been proactive and prompt in reaching out to distressed Indians abroad using social media
  • Modi further stated that for those workers who seek economic opportunities abroad, our effort is to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience.

Narendra Modi while concluding his speech thanked overseas Indian community for their support in fight against black money and corruption and said that the 21st century belongs to India. The Prime Minister reached Bengaluru early this morning and was received by Union Minister Ananth Kumar, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, along with several other ministers received the Prime Minister at the airport. The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas celebrates Indian diaspora across the world.

The 14th  Pravasi Bharatiya Divas kicked off in style with huge participation of Indian diaspora at Bengaluru on Saturday where Union Ministers Vijay Goel, VK Singh, and RV Deshpande inaugurated the event. The nation on Saturday wooed its young diaspora to be part of its growth story by tapping emerging opportunities in the country.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated in India on 9 January every other year (every year before 2016) to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India. The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in Bombay on 9 January 1915.