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February - March 2005


NRI Institute Celebrates Pravasi Day

by Chandru Malkani

Invest, invest, invest please- was the underlying message of the 3rd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference which was held in Mumbai from 7th to 9th January 2005. The Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Chief Ministers of some states urged the NRIS to invest in various projects in India. The Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, in his speech to the plenary session asked the NRIS to invest in projects rather than leaving funds in bank deposits. He suggested that Non Resident Indians should now become Non Resident Investors.

Over 1500 delegates from 61 countries participated in the 3rd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference. Inaugurating the conference at Admiral Kohli stadium in Navy Nagar, the Prime Minister, Mr Man Mohan Singh appealed for massive investments in infrastructure and education so that the annual economic growth of 7 to 8 per cent can be achieved. Mr Singh also aannounced that the Government will grant dual citizenship to all overseas Indians who migrated post 26 January 1950 provided it is permitted under the laws of their home nations. One simple user friendly application form will replace the existing cumbersome 3 pages application form. There will be improved format of registration certificate. Smart cards for registration will be considered, he added. He assured the delegates that the airports will also be improved.

On the second day, there were parallel sessions hosted by various states. The Chief Ministers of Gujerat and Chhatisgarh were amongst those who addressed the meetings and answered the delegates’ questions.

On the final day, the President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam told the NRIS to enrich the nations where they live, not only in financial terms, but also with their knowledge and dignity. The title of his talk was: “Your Prosperity is our Happiness.”

Reminding the NRIS that the greatest Pravasi was Mahatma Gandhi, he said that Nelson Mandela had pointed out to him that India sent M.K. Gandhi to South Africa and South Africa sent back Mahatma Gandhi to India.

He also urged the delegates to establish overseas Indian Research Centres which could help develop technology to predict natural disasters like recent tsunami. Inspired by the President’s speech, a number of delegates pledged their support to the idea. The President outlined his vision for India saying that he would like to improve the life of 260 million people who now live below the poverty line.

All the entertainment programmes and receptions were cancelled as a mark of respect to the victims of tsunami disaster .

Mr. Jagdish Tytler, Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs who had organised the conference in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, was present on all three days and mingled with the delegates, answering their questions from time to time. He devoted one session only to organise relief and rehabilitation for tsunami victims.

NRI Institute ‘Pravasi Indians’ Function Held At The Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, India On Tuesday, 11th January 05.

The NRI Institute, the forum for Indians, Non Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin held its 31st International Conference, "Pravasi Indians" at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Delhi, India on the 11th January 05.

The occasion was a magnificent success and was attended by over 500 guests. Sir Michael Arthur, The British High Commissioner to India hosted the reception with his wife, Lady Arthur. Chief Guests included Smt. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister Of Delhi and Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister Of State for Science & Technology and Ocean Development. The function included many dignitaries and guests of honour such as Shri Surinder Singla, Minister of Finance, Planning and Banking for the Government of Punjab, Shri Naranbhai J Rathwa, Union Minister Of State For Railways, Shri Tarlochan Singh, MP, Chairman, National Minorities Commission, Shri Madhu Goud Yaskhi, NRI Member of Parliament, Shri Muzaffar Hussian Baig, Minister of Finance, Law and Planning and Development of Jammu & Kashmir, Karan Bilimoria, CEO of Cobra Beer.

Mr Rami Ranger, Mr. APS Chawla, prominent businessman in the UK were honoured with awards for their work in promoting India in the UK, Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, The Minister Of State For Food Processing Industries, presented the award to Mr. Rami Ranger; and Mr. Jagdish Tytler, Minister for Overseas Indians, presented an award to Mr. APS Chawla.

The theme of the evening was to increase cooperation with Non Resident Indians and all ministers present assured the NRI’s would be eligible for dual nationality soon, there would not be any discrimination against them in any way and that they would be Indians forever. Just because they had moved abroad did not mean that they had lost their connection with their motherland, they were in fact to be praised. There were many tributes made to the NRI’s for travelling abroad and working hard in foreign countries, brining success and pride to their motherland India.

Secretary General of the NRI Institute, Mr.. Jagmohan Singh was praised for his vision for the NRIs. He single-handedly kept links with People of Indian Origin and Non Resident Indians through his Institute going back 30 years. His work has been appreciated by the Indian Government to the extent that it has declared an annual Pravasi Day to honour people of Indian origin living abroad.

The NRI Institute’ s function in New Delhi gave prominent publicity to ‘ROKO CANCER’ campaign initiated by Mr. APS Chawla, President of MKC Trust in the UK. ‘ROKO CANCER’ is leading an ongoing campaign to create India’s first ever Mobile Breast Cancer Detection Unit. The Roko Cancer Appeal was launched in July 2004 by the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK Mr. John Prescott in the House of Commons. The NRI Institute at its Pravasi Day in New Delhi has given a great boost to this campaign in India. It was also taken by ‘Door Darshan’ India, when Mr APS Chawla was interviewed on India’s national television channel.

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