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February - March 2004
Pravasi Bharatiya SammelanIt is the Hindi for NRI conference. It has become an annual event with a lot of fanfare. This year, Bharat Jagdeo, President of Guyana was the chief guest. Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee haild the acheivement and the contributions of the Indian diapsora. The grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origion living in 16 specified countries was announced. The government is not opposed to expanding the rights and privelidges of dual citiznes up to and inclduing the right to vote but any chnage in this direction has to be debated widely befor eit can happen.
India is a democracy and a democracy does not merley mean casting a vote once in a while. It means accountability on a daily basis. Prime minster vajpayee announced that indian workers in the Gulf and South East Asia who leave their children behind would now enjoy the facilioty of one third resrevation in eductaional instirtions. During the day of socialism the diaspora was looked upon as a brain drain. Today in the era of globalisation they are looked upon as a huge asset to the country as the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan will testify. Persons who were conferred with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman include: