IMF Chief Economist, Norwegian MP among 30 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees

Wednesday 30th January 2019 02:06 EST

President Ram Kovind gave a valedictory address and presented awards at a grant event on the last day of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Varanasi. Indian-American IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, Norwegian MP Himanshu Gulati, and South African diplomat Anil Sooklat, were among 30 NRIs, Indian-origin people and their organisations named for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. While most awardees were present to receive the honour, three among them, including Gopinath, were not present.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is the highest honour conferred by the President of India as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conventions on a Non Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) or organisation or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs. Along with the 28 leaders, two organisations - Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha and Indian Community Association in Egypt, were also awarded for their work in community service. In his address, Kovind said India today is a land of billion ideas and billion opportunities. Addressing the NRIs and PIOs, he said, “I invite each one of you to become a part of India's growth story which is being etched by its billion minds. We want to leverage your technology, know-how and investment to power our Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Skill India programmes. We want to change the brain-drain of yesterday to brain-gain of today. I once again call upon you to contribute and partner us in the New India that we are committed to build and to become a part of India's history in making.”

The awards were given in the presence of Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, UP Governor Ram Naik, Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya, and Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the criteria includes the role of individuals or organisations in fostering better understanding of India abroad, supporting India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way, building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence; social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad; welfare of the local Indian community; philanthropic and charitable work, eminence in one’s field or outstanding work which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence; and eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers).

This year's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was a raging success with a record number of NRIs flying in for the event. The sessions held during the three-day celebration provided important insights into the way forward in engaging the diaspora in India's development. A total of 7,228 registrations were done for this year's PBD from over 90 countries. One of the most unique features of this year's PBD was that the delegates were also taken to the famous Kumbh Mela that was being held in Allahabad, and from there to Delhi to witness the iconic Republic Day parade. Uttar Pradesh, which partnered the Ministry of External Affairs to organise the event, also honoured its 'Pravasis' with the UP Apravasi Bharatiya Ratna Puruskar 2019. Eight eminent NRIs and people of Indian-origin, including PTI correspondent Yoshita Singh who covers the United Nations and New York, received the honour from UP Governor Ram Naik

List of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees:

>Social service - Nihal Singh Agar (Australia)

> Community Service - Indian Community Association of Egypt, Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha and Swami Saradaprabhananda (South Africa)

> Public Service - Himanshu Gulati (Member of Parliament in Norway), Shamim Parkar Khan

> Business - Ramesh Chotai (Canada), Amit Waikar (China), Bitthal Das Maheswari (Italy), Bhavdeep Singh Dhillon (New Zealand), Vinodan Verambally Thazhikuniyil (Oman)

> Business Management - Banwarilal Satya Narayan Goenka

> Chartered Accountancy - Rajesh Chaplot (Uganda)

> Entrepreneurship - Jagdeshwar Rao Maddukuri (Poland)

> Training and Simulation - Purnendu Chandra Tiwary (Qatar)

> Medical Science - Guna Sekhar Muppuri (Jamaica), Prakash Madhavdas Heda (US)

> Science - Rajendra Kumar Joshi (Switzerland), Chandrashekhar Mishra (US)

> Civil Engineering - Rajinder Nath Khazanchi (Bhutan)

> Structural Engineering - Gitesh Jayantilal Desai (US)

> Technology - P.V. Sambasiva Rao (Kenya)

> Architecture - Rajpal Tyagi (Kuwait)

> Academics and Arts - Malini Ranganathan (France), Gita Gopinath (US)

> Diplomacy - Anil Sookal (South Africa)

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