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Atlantans Invited to Global Indian Meet

December 2004
Atlantans Invited to Global Indian Meet

Thinking of visiting India? Plan a trip for January. The new Ministry for Non Resident Indian's affairs in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is celebrating a three-day Pravasi Bhartiya Divas from January 7-9, 2005 in Mumbai. This will be the largest gathering of the global Indian family.

The event is an opportunity for the overseas Indians to meet on one platform and is being organized for the third consecutive year. Earlier it was organized by the Ministry of External Affairs to provide the Indian diaspora a window to their land of origin. The new government of India has constituted a separate Ministry of Overseas Affairs to forge a constructive relationship between India and its diaspora.

Atlantans too were formally invited and introduced to the event by the Joint Secretary of Overseas Indians Ministry of External Affairs, Malay Mishra on November 11. At a gathering at Bollywood Masala in Decatur, speaking to the press, Mr Mishra informed that the new government is looking forward to having a fruitful relationship with People of Indian Origin (PIO) and NRI's. Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, which has been a success in the past years, will be focusing on a professional interaction between the PIO's and the government. The emphasis this year will be on commerce. The State governments, the banking industry and business leaders will be in full attendance to woo the wealthy global Indians and inform about the latest developments in India, be it telecom, science and technology, real estate or the infrastructure. The thrust would be to showcase India as an attractive destination for investment and the incentives being offered for it. Mr Mishra informed that, "Government will be more of a listener this time as we want to provide the best to PIO's. India is looking forward particularly to investments in infrastructure development."

Elaborating on the topic he said that India has unique characteristic which are being sold to investors. "India has a concept of ?medi-cities' like Hyderabad, Chennai etc which offer super specialized medical facilities which are at par with the best in the world and cost a fraction. Likewise, our scientific institutions are doing noteworthy work and need collaborations to bring the products into market." He also informed that ?Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra', a nodal point for all matters related to the diaspora is being set up in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. "It is being constructed on 25 acre land will have exhibitions, genological centre to trace ancestry, archives for research etc."

Mr Mishra informed that the focus for this Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be Youth as under the Youth Internship Program, fifty young professionals from varied fields of interest will be staying in India to meet people and visit sites. They will also attend the National Youth Festival in Hyderabad. "We want to attract young talent who can contribute to India professionally."

The event will be graced by the presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, President Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Minister of State for Non Resident Indians' Affairs, Mr. Jagdish Tytler, Finance Minister P.C. Chidambram, and Foreign Minister Mr. Natwar Singh,. The evening will have a ?Bollywood Night', performances by Diaspora artists and recitals by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi in Indian Classical and Dr Bala Subramaniam in Carnatic Music.

On being asked about the issue of dual citizenship, Mr Mishra informed that Consulates have started issuing a Certificate of Overseas Citizen which will offer all the rights of an Indian citizen barring the political right to vote and hold government positions. "This certificate will not be a travel document and can't be used in place of a passport. It has placed PIOs and NRI's on a similar platform and now they can invest as well withdraw finances besides purchasing and owning property."

Swati Bajpai

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