Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President after releasing the Coffee Table Book titled Glorious Diaspora - Pride of India, containing brief profiles of recipients of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards from 2003 to 2019, in New Delhi.

New Delhi | September 5, 2019

“I am pleased to launch this Coffee Table Book titled 'Glorious Diaspora- Pride of India' containing brief profiles of the recipients of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards from  2003 to 2019

As you all are aware, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honour conferred upon overseas Indian by the Indian Government. Since the launch of the award in 2003, many deserving people of Indian origin from around the world have been honoured--they include politicians, business leaders, scientists, economists and artists from around the world.

I must compliment Mr. Rajat Kapoor of the Indian Diaspora Club for bringing out this coffee table book – ‘Glorious Diaspora- Pride of India’.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is being conferred as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention on a Non-Resident Indian, Person of Indian Origin or an organization or institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin, who have made a significant contribution in any one of the following ways:

For promoting a better understanding of India abroad; 

Supporting India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way; 

Building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence;

Social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad; 

The welfare of the local Indian community; 

Philanthropic and charitable work; 

Eminence in one’s field or outstanding work, which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence; or Eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers).

Dear sisters and brothers,

January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.

As you all are aware, the Conventions are being organized to connect India with its vast overseas diaspora and bring their knowledge, expertise, and skills onto a common platform. While the convention was  held on an annual basis till 2014, it is being organized once in two years from 2015.

I am glad that over the years Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Conventions have become effective platforms for the exchange of views and networking to the Persons of Indian Origin on matters of common interest. These Conventions also provide an occasion to better understand the expectations of the overseas Indians and acknowledge their role in India’s progress and development.

While the late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji is credited with having promoted serious engagement with the Indian diaspora to develop mutually beneficial linkages, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji has intensified it.  In his foreign trips and outreach activities with India’s expatriate communities, he has been persuading them to “contribute to India’s growth story”.

The Prime Minister has invited the NRIs and PIOs to not only share the vision of India in the new millennium but also help us shape its contours.

Dear sisters and brothers,

The NRIs, PIOs and professionals settled abroad are India’s cultural ambassadors and play a key role in strengthening the country’s image.  Apart from promoting India’s cultural values and traditions, they must also actively counter false propaganda on India, especially in the wake of the recent reorganization of the Jammu and Kashmir State.

The overseas Indians must create awareness in the countries of their stay that the dilution of Article 370 was purely an internal administrative measure aimed at accelerating the development of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. It has nothing to do with religion and any such false propaganda should be rebutted.

At times, we also find that some vested interests spread a lot of disinformation about India in the western media by portraying a negative image. A few isolated incidents are used to spin fictitious narratives that intolerance, religious and social disharmony are on the rise in India.

The Pravasi Bharatiyas must effectively counter such falsehoods and project the correct image of India, especially on the harmonious co-existence of the people belonging to all religions and various social groups.

I would also like the Indian diaspora to contribute towards India’s growth story through greater participation in the areas of education, health and agriculture. The overseas Indians must partners in programmes like  Swachh Bharat, Clean Ganga, Make In India, Digital India, and Skill India. I am sure, the diaspora has plenty to contribute.

Apart from conducting outreach activities to engage with the overseas Indians, the government is also encouraging the diaspora to contribute to India’s growth through philanthropy, knowledge transfers, investments in innovation and assistance in other development projects.

Over the years, the diaspora has become an increasingly important factor in international politics. The Jewish, Chinese and British diasporas have achieved successes in their second homes. The Indian diaspora, for their part, have many of the elements required for success — they are a “model minority”, they are affluent, and they are growing in number. Many of them are willing to exert their influence in electoral politics and are engaged in multinational businesses, and are thus highly visible. This makes for a ripe environment for India to aggressively tap on its potential.

I am sure that the glorious journey of overseas Indians will continue to inspire us with their passion to excel and emotion to connect with their motherland in various ways.
Indian Diaspora Club deserves appreciation for taking the lead for publication of this attractive Coffee Table Book with such an inspiring profile of Distinguished Overseas Indians who have made their indelible mark in various fields.

My best wishes to all of you for future endeavours!

Jai Hind!”