IN NEWS: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Persons of Indian Origin settled in various countries to invest back in India, especially in infrastructure, education, energy, water and agriculture sectors.
- He was speaking at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
- The Divas was jointly organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
- Prime Minister also said that country would go ahead with signing social security agreements with more countries to ensure the economic and social well beings of Indians and also government would implement welfare measures such as insurance scheme for migrant labourers settled abroad.
- The Prime Minister said that 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has a special significance since it marked 100th year of the ‘Ghadar’ movement.
- The prime minister also released the stamp in honour of the Ghadar movement.
- He said that divas had become a platform for goodwill among friendly countries and recalled that last year a regional version of divas was hosted by Mauritius.
- He pledged his country’s support to India in its quest for a permanent seat at the U.N. Security Council.
- President of Mauritius, Rajkeshwur Purryag, who was the chief guest, recalled that Mauritius and India shared a common thread in several aspects. President Rajkeshwur Purryag ancestral home is in Wajitpur village in Punpun block of Patna district, a place that his ancestors had left behind to sail to Mauritius decades ago.
A brief on Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India.
- January 9th was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion 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.
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conventions are being held every year since 2003.
- These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
- During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.
- To enable non-resident Indians to vote in our national elections, the Government has issued notifications for registration of overseas Indians under the Representation of People Act, 1950. This constitutes the first major step to enable Indians resident abroad to participate in our election processes.
- The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is the quintessential people’s agency, a one-stop address for Overseas Indians. Established in 2004 as the ‘Ministry of Non-Resident Indians’ Affairs, it was renamed the ‘Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs’ (MOIA) in September 2004.
Few Milestones achieved in context to the Pravasi Bharatiyas’
- The Union Government issued notifications for the registration of Overseas Indians (holding Indian passports) under the Representation of People Act, 1950. This constitutes a major step to enable Indian residents abroad to participate in elections back home by making them eligible to vote while in India. This has been a long-pending demand of the Diaspora, notably among those living in the Gulf region, estimated at 5 million.
- Government introduced a Bill to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to merge and streamline the cards issued to Overseas Indians under the People of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India schemes. This will rectify some of the anomalies in the schemes and provide for a single Overseas Indian Card.
A brief on Ghadar Movement
- The Ghadar movement was a movement for a pan-Indian mutiny in the British Indian Army in February 1915 formulated by Indian revolutionaries.
- It was the most prominent plan amongst a number of plots of the much larger Indo-German Conspiracy, formulated between 1914 and 1917 to initiate a Pan-Indian rebellion against the British Raj during World War I.
- The conspirators included the Indian nationalists in India, United States and Germany, along with help from the Irish republicans and the German Foreign Office.
- Indians settled in California, mostly from the Punjab region had revolted against British rule in India by mobilising the Indian diaspora there.
- The Indo-German conspiracy as a whole, as well as the intrigues of the Ghadar Party in Punjab during the war, were among the main stimuli for the enactment of the Defence of India Act, appointment of the Rowlatt Committee, and the enactment of the Rowlatt Acts. The Jallianwallah Bagh massacre is also linkedintimately with the British Raj’s fears of a Ghadarite uprising in India especially Punjab in 1919.