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Fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 7-9 January, 2006 held at Hyderabad | Indian Diaspora Club
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Home » Fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 7-9 January, 2006 held at Hyderabad

Fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 7-9 January, 2006 held at Hyderabad

          India is a vibrant nation of many culture religions, languages, and regions. The invisible thread that holds this heterogeneity together is Indian-ness. This, as the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, reminded us last year, is an idea whose time has come. Diaspora are both the products and the drivers of globalisation. The Indian diaspora, estimated at 25 million and spread over 110 countries across the globe, is an important player in this process.

          The 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), 2006, held in Hyderabad from January, 7 to 9, 2006 was aimed at bringing the knowledge, expertise and skills of the vast and diverse overseas Indian community on a common platform. It sought to shape an agenda for a symbiotic relationship between Indian and its diaspora. The focus was on establishing an institutional framework for sustainable engagement with overseas Indians. The framework would bind together overseas Indians as ‘knowledge’ partners, the states of India as ‘stakeholder’ partners and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs as a ‘facilitator’.

          Apart from the inaugural and valedictory sessions, this three-day conference had;

Eight Plenary Sessions on diverse themes like knowledge network, philanthropy, culture, remittances etc. and an interactive session with the State Governments.

Six Parallel Sessions on specific issues, which were of interest to sections of the delegates, like gender, education, youth overseas employment, commemorating the diaspora and assisted living.

Three panel Discussions on political discourse, communal harmony and secularism, and reporting on the diaspora.

Two Roundtables to stimulate discussions on futuristic topics introduced by eminent speakers.

          PBD 2006 targeted specific outcomes. Outcomes that we believe, can transform ideas into individual initiatives and community action reinforcing dynamic India and its diaspora as ‘partners in progress’. The key outcomes targeted were:

  • Developing an inclusive agenda for the diaspora
  • Seeding the idea of diaspora networks and drawing up a road map for establishing them.
  • Making the States active stakeholder partners in the networks.
  • Developing templates for individual initiatives and community adction leverage the knowledge and other resources of overseas Indians.
  • Thinking back and looking ahead to outline the action plan for meaningful engagement with the diaspora round the year and across the globe.

Over 1500 delegates (900 overseas and 600 Indians) from 42 countries attended this annual conclave. Besides, nearly 300 invitees of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Government of Andhra Pradesh took part in the sessions. Theses comprised speakers and dignitaries from Indian and overseas, senior officials and ministers of the Central and State Governments. The Government of Andhra Pradesh was the Partner State and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICC) was the institutional partner.

The 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was inaugurated at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) on January, 7, 2006, by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with the traditional lighting of the lamp. An invocation was performed by renowned Carnatic vocalist and Sangeeta Kala awardee Nedunuri Krishnamurthi, accompanied by srtistes on the vuiolin, mridangam and tanpura.

S. Krishna Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, welcomed the distinguished gathering and presented an overview of the three-day event. He said that the attempt was to make PBD a business-oriented, if not a purely business, conference. He stated that the Ministry had brought in the dimensions of ‘Working Together’ to the idea of ‘Getting Together’ represented by PBD. This would spawn partnerships between India and its diaspora across various sectors and segments. These partnerships would assume strategic importance in the years to come with India truly in its way to be a global knowledge and economic powerhouse and become instrumentalities of the exercise of India’s soft power.

The Secretary then invited the Prime Minister to present the first Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) documents to two members of the diaspora, Nivruti Rai and Iftekar Ahmad Sharif. The documents included an OCI card and a multi-entry, life time visa to India. The PM also released OCI handbook. MOIA Minister Oscar Fernandes then released the first issue of the monthly newsletter of the Ministry, Overseas Indian, in five languages- English, Hindi, Telugu, Gujarati, and Malayalam.

In his address, Fernandes mentioned that the Ministry was a young one and its formation acknowledged the fact that overseas Indians, estimated at 25 million and spread over 110 countries in eight major regions of the world, needed main-stream attention. He drew attention to the fact that the Indian diaspora was a heterogeneous group and its concerns and needs varied vastly from country to country. It was this plurality that gave strength to the vast overseas Indian community. The global Indian is now gaining recognition for his / her knowledge, dedication and strong work ethic. The Minister said that India was keen to establish three kinds of partnerships: knowledge with professional bodies like American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin; institutional partnerhip in terms of outreach with bodies like FICCI and CII and stakeholder partnerships with the states of India.

Dr. Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, expressed his happiness at hosting the 4th PBD in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, which is now on the map of the world as a truly high-tech city. He said that Hyderabad had always been a gate to the international community with a number of doctors, investment bankers, IT professionals, entrepreneurs and academics working in the State. He mentioned that Hyderabad was an important venue and was hosting the World Science Congress and many other prestigious event in 2006.

The character of Hyderabad had been of pluralities with universal acceptance and tolerance for multiple religions, ethnicities and cultural diversity. He spoke of the fast economic growth of India, which was now next only to Japan and China in terms of purchasing power. It was second only to the U.S. in terms of scientific achievement. India was one of the leading countries in IT outsourcing, managerial and technical expertise, and the atomic energy programme. He also stressed on the need to further develop relations with China, another growing economic partner in the 21st century, which, he said, is going to be the Asian century.

Special Address by the Chief Guest

Chief Guest Ahmed Kathrada of South Africa paid glowing tributes to the initiatives taken by the Government of India (GoI) as well as the State Government of Andhra Pradesh in organising this historic event, He stated that this initiative was a great tribute to and recognition of the role played by people of Indian origin (PIO). He recalled the shared culture and political histories of the people of South Africa and India and their common struggle against colonial rule.

He recalled with nostalgia the historic role played by Mahatma Gandhi in moulding and mobilising the anti-colonial and nationalist spirit through non-violence and satyagraha during, his formative years in South Africa. In his address, he highlighted the Mahatma’s mobilisation of inderntured labour and leading them towards formation of the South African Indian Congress. Katharada recalled how, in 1946, the South African Indian Congress called upon Indian nationalist leaders to break diplomatic relations with the White-ruled Government of South Africa.

The Chief Guest also spoke at length on the historic moments of 1994. The overthrow of the oppressive apartheid regime in 1994 brought dignity to the people of South Africa. The post apartheid democratic government brought complete religious freedom, and liberation of women as nearly one-third of them entered the democratically elected Parliament of free South Africa.

He deplored the global expenditure of about $1 trillion billion annually on armaments and opined that just one percent of such expenditure on human welfare would ensure progress and development of poor people of the world.

Inaugural Address

In his inaugural address, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh observed how Indian values had stood the test of time not only in India but also in foreign lands. The same values that highlighted the spirit of tolerance and compassion also emphasised on an uncompromising struggle against oppression of every kind. The Prime Minister traced the presence of the same spirit and tradition in two persons of Indian origin who had stood up against oppression in foreign lands, one no longer in our midst and another who was fortunately with us and a source of inspiration. He was referring to Mahatma Gandhi and Ahmed Kathrada.

The Prime Minister touched upon the uniqueness of Hyderabad and its strategic location in the Indian development context. He spoke of the composite culture of Hyderabad and its traditional ethos and yet being in the forefront of all that was modern including globalisation.  He also spoke of the greatness and grandeur of ancient Andhra and dealt in particular with its maritime trade. He observed how India (particularly Andhra Pradesh) was not only noted for trade and commerce by also for movement of labour overseas. The phenomenon of Indians going abroad was not of recent origin but was rooted in history. Consequently, today there is a global community of Indians, he said.

  The Prime Minister saluted the overseas Indian workers and professional for their contributions to their motherland not only in terms of remittances, but also for their commitment to work and professional ethos that have made India proud. He announced several welfare measures for overseas Indians, including an improved insurance scheme, Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojna (PBBY) 2006, for overseas Indian workers commencing from February, 2006. Also on the anvil is a Diaspora Knowledge Network. The issue of granting voting rights to NRIs was at an advance stage of consideration of the Government, he said.

Dr. Singh also invited global students to come and study in India. He described India as the “most happening place in the world”. He had a word of praise for all global Indians particularly those in Mauritius, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan for the inestimable role they were playing in these societies. He said that the conference should work towards arriving at a policy framework for developing partnerships in education and devise strategies for institutional intervention. He appreciated the collaborations of Birla Institute of S& T and Manipal Academy of Higher Education with other educational institutions around the world.

Dr. Singh exhorted the Chief Ministers to make their respective States more competitive, stating that such competition was good for development. He anticipated more partnerships of States with overseas Indians and institutions.

Vote of Thanks 

          Saroj K. Poddar, President of FICCI, proposed the vote of thanks. He invited PIOs to join the growing Indian economy. He said that by 2025, about 68 per cent of the Indian population would join the work force by which time many in China would be retiring from active labour force. Poddar thanked the government of India and Andhra Pradesh for organising the conference.

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees-2006

S. No.

      Name Country


Shri Yesu Persaud Guyana


Shri Rusy M. Shroff Hong Kong


Shri Eliahu Bezalel Israel


Shri Abdool Raouf Bundhun Mauritius


Mrs. Pratima Kale Philippines


Shri C.K.Menon Qatar


Shri Jean-Paul Virapoulle Reunion Island


Dr. Majid Uddin Kazi Saudi Arabia


Dr. V. Ramadoss Seychelles


Shri Sisupal Rambharos South Africa


Shri Shivnath Rai Bajaj Thailand


Sir Gulam Kaderbhai Noon United Kingdom


Dr. Sudhir Parikh United States of America


Shri Niranjan S. Shah****** United States of America


Shri Fareed Zakaria United States of America