Sunday, January 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM to honour 10 eminent NRIs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 4
In keeping with the Vajpayee government’s earnest desire to explore and tap the potential of the Indian diaspora besides protecting their interests, the inaugural three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held here from January 9 to 11.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which will henceforth be an annual event marking Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India on January 9 after spending two decades in South Africa to fight for independence and free India from colonial shackles.

As a prelude to the high profile divas, the Union Government announced here this afternoon that 10 eminent Indians settled abroad will be honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. A jury headed by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat decided the names.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Aneerood Jugnath, British MP Lord Navneet Dholakia, McKinsey’s Rajat Gupta, former Prime Minister of British Columbia (Canada) Ujjal Dosanjh, Malaysian minister D. Samy Vellu, well-known freedom fighter from South Africa Prof Fatima Mir, former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Sridath Ramphal, businessman and philanthropist from Kenya Manubhai Chanderia, business tycoon from Hong Kong Bob Harilela, and Oman’s business leader Kanakbhai Khemji whose family had settled there for 300 years will be bestowed the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

Internationally renowned NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) will be descending in the national Capital for the all-encompassing sessions to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

More than 1,200 delegates from 59 countries have confirmed their participation though this figure is expected to touch the 1500 mark before the divas commences on January 9, according to Mr J.C. Sharma, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Eminent jurist and India’s former High Commissioner to the UK L.M. Singhvi, who headed the high powered committee on the Indian diaspora, emphasised that the effort was to project globalisation of India and Indianisation of the globe.

Stating that the contours of a policy framework was now emerging for the Indian diaspora of 20 million spread all over the world, Mr Singhvi said his committee had recommended the need for providing dual citizenship, developing partnerships in education, health and the science and technology sectors as well, trade, commerce and technology transfer.

He explained that his committee’s report on the Indian diaspora was a starting point for engaging the Indian diaspora as a continuous and dynamic exercise.

The largest complement of 248 NRIs and PIOs is from the USA followed by the Britain (92), Canada (75), Reunion Islands 54, Australia (45), Kuwait (44), South Africa (43), Surinam (41), UAE (37), Trinidad and Tobago (36), Malaysia (35), Fiji (32) and the Netherlands (32).

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