KOCHI (TIP): Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India inaugurated the organizing committee office of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 to be held in Kochi from 7 to 9 January , in the presence of Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Affairs. K.C. Joseph, Minister for NORKA, Govt. of Kerala, Hibi Eden MLA and Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany were also present at the function held at the office of the Protector of Immigrants, Kochi.

On the occasion, Vayalar Ravi told the media that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the PBD on 8th and President of India Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the valedictory address on 9th and confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag will be the chief guest at the inaugural session.

The theme of the Convention is ‘Engaging Diaspora: The Indian Growth Story’. There will be pre-PBD seminars on 7th, related to developmental issues such as skill development, pure sciences, tourism, youth and the issues faced by NRIs in the Gulf.. Vayalar Ravi said that more than 1500 delegates from all over the world will attend the session and considering the overwhelming response, the number may rise to 2000.

PBD 2013 is being conducted in partnership with the Government of Kerala. Kerala has been chosen as the host for the Convention since Keralites constitute one of the largest expatriate communities of India. Since the Country is celebrating the centenary of the Gadar Movement in 2013, the PBD Oration this time will be on the Gadar Movement. There will also be an exhibition on the Gadar Movement.

The purpose of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is to have a meaningful interaction with overseas Indians that would address their issues and concerns. Overseas Indians have emerged as important constituents of their adopted countries. They have contributed to transforming the economies, participating in political process and added value to thought and innovation of their destination countries. They also serve to build bridges between their present homeland and the land of their ancestors.