Modi to open Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Vibrant Summit

Tuesday 06th January 2015 14:14 EST

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Gandhinagar on January 8 and 11 to inaugurate the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas as well as the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit 2015 respectively.

"On January 8, the Prime Minister will be in Gandhinagar to inaugurate Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, which will conclude the next day. On January 11, Modi will also open the Vibrant Gujarat Summit," Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabh Patel said.

The 7th edition of the Vibrant Summit will be held between January 11 and 13 at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The state government has also organised a parallel exhibition called 'Global Trade Show' at Helipad Ground in Gandhinagar between January 7 and 13, he said.

Patel said that after inaugurating the Summit, Modi will have lunch with the global business leaders, which will be followed by seminars. "This time seven countries are participating as partner countries in the Vibrant Summit. These countries are Japan, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Netherlands, Canada and South Africa. Delegates from the USA and China are also scheduled to take part in the seminars.

"We have invited CEOs of Fortune-500 companies, chief ministers of different states, union ministers, heads of academic institutions, economists and other important dignitaries from world over for the Summit," Patel said.

In order to promote the event in Gujarat as well as in other states, road shows were organised. According to Patel, the road shows were held in Surat, Bharuch, Rajkot, Gandhidham, Vapi, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to see more than 500 meetings

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015 (PBD), the flagship event of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), is likely to see over 500 pre-scheduled business meetings during the PBD and the Vibrant Gujarat Summit between January 7 to 13 in Gandhinagar. Calling it the biggest PBD so far, Charu Mathur, chief executive officer, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), the economic engagement arm for the diaspora of the MOIA, said that "The B2B meeting starting during the PBD would continue throughout the year. There is a huge spike in the interest levels from the non-resident Indians this year, especially from the Gulf region."

The OIFC is a public-private partnership between the MOIA and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) formed to facilitate the economic and intellectual engagement of the Indian diaspora with India. It is working towards setting the stage for the ninth annual "Market Place Forum" from January 7 to 13, during the PBD and the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The 'Market Place Forum', a premier business networking platform for PBD delegates would be inaugurated by the Minister of External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.

Mathur added that the OIFC will be signing MoUs with various business associations for strengthening connections with the Indian diaspora. "After our diaspora Engagement Meets in Bahrain and London in 2014, we have received multiple queries from the Indian diaspora on sectors of clean energy, education and skills, healthcare, infrastructure and real estate," she claimed adding that the diaspora is curious to know about how the new government at the Centre is working, handling things. "They want to witness what is happening on ground here in India," Mathur said.

PBD is celebrated on January 9 every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India's freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever. The PBD is organised between January 7-9 every year since 2003.

As per the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP), ministry of Commerce, the total foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflows from individual non-resident Indians (NRIs) from January 2000 to April 2013 was $ 4684.25 million. Net inflows under various NRI deposit schemes of the RBI increased significantly during 2013-14 and stood at $38.9 billion while it was $14.8 billion in 2012-13. About seven per cent of the funds remitted by the overseas Indians are invested in land, property and equity shares. While 20 per cent of the funds are parked in bank deposits, share of remittances used to meet family expenses has come down from 61 per cent to 49 per cent, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) survey.

Around 3,000 people belonging to the Indian diaspora are expected to attend the PBD. The chief guest of the 13th PBD would be Guyana President Donald Ramotar. PBD is the world's largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin aimed at enhancing networking and reinforcing commercial linkages. There are 25 million people of Indian origin residing outside India.

The 13th convention would be “different” from earlier PBDs, said Swaraj. It would be hosting some special events, including a special session for the diaspora youth and also four special sessions. These are to deal with the concerns of diaspora living in the Gulf countries, for those living in Francophone countries, a session for countries where the descendants of Indian indentured labour live and another session to address concerns of the associations of Indian diaspora, the minister said.

Security tightened

With top world leaders, CEOs of leading companies across the globe and noted NRIs participating in the events, the Gujarat Government has decided to set up a Central Control Room to ensure foolproof security to the dignitaries.

The control room will function 24x7 till the conclusion of all programmes. “The aim is to provide full security not only to the VVIPs at Mahatma Mandir venue but to all the people in the state as we don't want disgruntled elements to create disturbances anywhere. We have alerted the state agencies to ensure coastal and other securities,” said chief secretary D J Pandian.

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