The 17th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD), a day commemorated annually on January 9th to recognize the contributions of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), was marked by the Indian government with events held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The program began on January 8th with the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and continued on the 9th, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the keynote address. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were also expected to address the gathering. The event also included a push for tourism in Madhya Pradesh, which is set to hold elections later this year.
The History of Pravasi Bharatiya Day
The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas was first celebrated in 2003, after a High-Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, headed by LM Singhvi, recommended in 2002 that the Indian government must renew and strengthen linkages of overseas Indians to their place of origin, and with each other.
The committee also recommended that a Pravasi Bharatiya Bhavan should be set up as a focal point for networking between India and its overseas Indian community, as well as a suitable place to commemorate the stories of the Indian Diaspora.
January 9th was selected as the date of the event as it was the day Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915. Since 2015, the event format has been revised to be held every two years, and this year’s PBD was the first in-person meeting held since the start of the pandemic.
The Theme of the 2023 PBD
This year’s theme is “Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal”. Over 3,500 diaspora members from nearly 70 different countries have registered for the PBD Convention, according to its press release. The Special Guest of Honor was Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi and the Chief Guest was Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
An award called The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is given out as part of the PBD program, it is the highest honor given to a Non-Resident Indian, Person of Indian Origin; or an organization or institution established and run by them.
The award is given to commemorate the contributions of the Indian diaspora to create a better understanding of India abroad, support India’s causes, and work for the welfare of the local Indian community. A jury-cum-awards committee, with the Vice President as the chairman and External Affairs Minister as the vice-chair, and other distinguished members from various walks of life considered the nominations and unanimously selected the awardees.
This year the award was given to 27 individuals from countries such as Australia, Ethiopia, Israel, Japan and more. The Chief Guest of the event and the President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, will also be awarded.
In connection with the event, a Commemorative Postal Stamp ‘Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen’ will also be released to underline the importance of vaccination in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The PBD Conclave will also see the release of a book titled ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: Celebrating the Indian Diaspora’. This book aims to highlight the journey of PBD, the significance of the Indian diaspora and their contributions to India’s development.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is an important event that recognizes the contributions and achievements of the Indian diaspora around the world. The theme of this year’s PBD, “Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal”, highlights the important role that NRIs play in the progress and development of India. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award and the release of a commemorative stamp and a book, also showcases the importance of this event in India’s history and culture.