Every year, on Jan 9, India celebrates Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) to acknowledge the contribution of overseas persons with Indian origin (PIO) towards their home country.
This year was no different. The annual celebratory day was hosted at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra at Chanakyapuri in Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his keynote speech to a gathering of over 100 parliamentarians of Indian-origin.
“We are increasingly focusing on the world, our perception of the world is changing, its main reason is that India is transforming itself, it is being transformed. Reforms to transform is our guiding principle,” Modi said in his address at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) celebration.
The event saw presence of 124 members of parliament (MPs) and 17 mayors from 23 countries including UK, USA, South Africa and Canada. The delegation from Guyana was the biggest, consisting of 20 MPs and three mayors. The US sent only two mayors as its representatives to the event as its Senate is in session.
Here is everything you want to know about the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD):
1. The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to Mumbai on Jan 9, 1915.
2. It was in 2003 that Jan 9 was marked as the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD).
3. The event is sponsored by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
4. The event is held over three days – from Jan 7 to 9.
5. The event serves as a forum to discuss issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
6. Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are given to NRIs (non-resident Indians) who have contributed a lot in their chosen field/profession. The award is given by the President of India.
7. The first and second Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) in 2003 and 2004 were held in New Delhi,
8. The third event in 2005 was held in Mumbai, while the fourth was held in Hyderabad in 2006.
9. The fifth (2007) and sixth (2008) Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) were held in New Delhi again, followed by the venue shifted to Chennai in 2009.
10. The event venue was New Delhi for 2010 and 2011, while it was held in Jaipur in 2012.
11. In 2013, it was Kochi, while in 2014, the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) celebrations were held in New Delhi again.
12. Gujarat’s Gandhinagar hosted the event in 2015, while New Delhi was selected as the venue for 2016. However, the event got cancelled. The celebration was held in Bengaluru in 2017.
13. This year (2018), India’s capital New Delhi again hosted the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD).
14. It was the 8th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas that took place on Jan 7-9, 2010 that was first webcast live on MEA’s official website. It was also covered live on social media via live blogging and live tweeting at Pravasi Bharatiya, an online platform powered by Kotak Mahindra Bank.
15. In Oct 2015, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj changed the event format. It was announced that the event would move to a different state every two years, while a smaller celebration would be held in Delhi every alternate year.
Pic: Government website
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.