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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 14TH edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at BIEC, Bengaluru.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the Indian diaspora across the world as he addressed people at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2017 in Bengaluru.
“There was once a discussion about brain drain. And I told people at that time: Are only foolish people left here?” Modi said. “Today, I can say with a lot of confidence: The present government’s initiative changed brain drain to brain gain,” he added.
“In foreign lands and communities across the globe, the Indian diaspora represents the best of Indian culture, ethos and values,” said the prime minister, adding that the hard work, discipline and peace-loving nature of Indians abroad made them role models for other communities.
“You have various objectives and paths. But within all of us, there is only one dream: Bharatiyata,” he said. “Indians have brought about development wherever they have been. They have established a connection with whichever place they have gone to,” he added.
“For my government and for me personally, engagement with overseas Indians has been a key area of priority. I have met many Indians in US, UK, Australia, South Africa, UAE, Qatar, China, Japan, South Korea,” said Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters
“As a result of sustained and systematic outreach, there is a strong drive among the Indian diaspora to connect more extensively and deeply with India’s social and economic transformation. They are co-travellers in the development of the nation,” he said.
“NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. Among them, there are politicians of stature, scientists of repute, outstanding doctors, brilliant educationists, economists, musicians, bankers, engineers and lawyers. Did I mention our well-known IT professionals?” said the prime minister.
Modi also said that the central government was committed to the safety of Indians abroad.
“The welfare and safety of all Indians abroad is our top priority. For this, we are strengthening the entire ecosystem of our administrative arrangements,” he said.
“Whether it is loss of passports, need for legal advice, medical advice, shelter or even transportation of mortal remains to India, I have directed all Indian embassies to be proactive to address problems of Indians abroad,” he said. “Our response to overseas Indians’ needs is based on accessibility, sensibility, speed and promptness. 24×7 helplines with Indians embassies, open house meetings with Indian nationals and use of social media platforms for immediate access are some of the measures we have put in place,” he added.
“We do not see the colour of the passport. We only see the blood relations,” he said.
Praising External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her commitment to her duties, Modi said, “Our External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ji has been prompt in reaching out to distressed Indians abroad.”
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora.
Launched by the Vajpayee government in 2003 as an annual event to step up India’s engagement with its diaspora and the congregation of NRIs and Persons of India origins, the government decided to make PBD a biennial event last year.