The decision to mark 9th January, the day Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915, as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Overseas Indian Day) by then Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is so appropriate. Overseas Indians contribute hugely towards the development of India in so many different ways and Pravasi Bharitya Divas is a great tribute to them.
Overseas Indians send money back home to their families in India – last year alone this amount was a whopping $89 billion – about 3% of India’s GDP! In addition, they contribute through tourism, investments, and expanding their businesses in India. They are also a significant consumer of many Indian products including movies and entertainment.
Indian diaspora’s contribution around the world is remarkable. No aspect of our lives and no part of this earth is untouched by the talent, hard work and achievements of the overseas Indians. In the UK, they are powering our National Health Service (NHS) as doctors and nurses, keeping our high street buzzing as restaurateurs and retailers, creating jobs and wealth as entrepreneurs and business leaders, innovating as engineers and scientists, enriching our culture in arts & entertainment and contributing in politics at national, regional and local levels.
This year Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is even special for me as it is being held in Indore – the city where I was born and grew up in. Indore is known as India’s cleanest city and has done exemplary work in cleanliness, waste management and recycling.
If you are planning to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2023, I recommend visiting Mahakal Lok – the 920-metre-long mega corridor near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Madhya Pradesh also has the largest forest area in India with 25 sanctuaries, 10 national parks and six tiger reserves – so that is another amazing thing to experience in Madhya Pradesh.