In a departure from the past, the government on Tuesday announced a change in the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and its engagement with the diaspora. The mega jamboree will now be held every other year and a new event “focused on outcomes” will be held every other year.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is also minister of overseas Indian affairs, announced the changed format of India’s engagement with its diaspora at a press conference here.
Swaraj said a scaled-down event would be held in January 2016 with the participation of just 150 invited foreign delegates.
The invited diaspora guests will be experts who would attend various sessions to brainstorm on issues, including the problem of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf; on the government’s flagship programs like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, and problems that Persons of Indian Origin face, she said.
Sushma Swaraj announced that the “smaller events” of the PBD would be held in the Delhi office every alternate year, while the major “mela” would be held every two years in a different state in partnership with that state government.
Besides, she announced that the Regional PBD, which is held abroad, will be held this year in Los Angeles, U.S., on November 14-15. She said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said he would attend.
She also announced a quiz competition “Bharat ko Janiye” in order to involve the diaspora youth in learning about India.
The 20 winners — 10 from PIO countries and 10 from countries with NRIs — would be awarded at the PBD.
Announcing the competition, Swaraj said diaspora Indians between the ages 18-35 could apply to join the quiz, in which there would be two rounds.
After the second round, 10 successful candidates each from the PIO nations and with NRI population would be selected.
They would be invited to the summit where they would have to participate in the third round.
The first three winners would be awarded at the plenary of the PBD. The 20 youth would be taken on a “Bharat Darshan”, she announced, with the aim to acquaint them about Indian art, culture, heritage and also modern India.