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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas kicks off in Gandhinagar, Sushma Swaraj asks NRIs to contribute

Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday called on the diaspora youth gathered here to “come, connect, celebrate and contribute” to be part of the “momentous transformation taking place in the country”.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 2015 Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), Sushma Swaraj, who is also the external affairs minister, urged the diaspora youth to contribute to the country’s development.

She said the Narendra Modi government has taken several measures to ease the business environment, including by rationalising rules and identifying obsolete laws.

The minister said the clear focus of the Modi government is on infrastructure development and the government is moving towards a transparent policy.

Earlier, welcoming hundreds of youth delegates, Sushma Swaraj said it is a special joy to interact with the youth “who share a special bond of heart with India”.

She said the PBD is a platform to connect the diaspora with the motherland and promote the concept of a global Indian family.

With this, the 13th edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas convention began in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar amid tight security in the wake of ‘terror’ boat incident in Arabian sea.

NRIs from over 58 countries are expected to participate in the three-day convention, which marks the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the country’s development.

The event aims at connecting India to its vast overseas Diaspora and bring their knowledge, expertise and skills on a common platform. 2015 is the centenary year of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to his motherland from South Africa on January 9, 1915, from where he led freedom struggle against the British.

After landing in Mumbai, Gandhi travelled extensively in the country before establishing his base at Sabarmati Ashram here on the banks of Sabarmati river.

On the first day of the event, US-based astronaut Sunita Williams, who has roots in Gujarat, will take part in the ‘Youth PBD’ programme at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, besides Sushma Swaraj.

After the inauguration, a plenary session on ‘Bharat ko Jano’ and ‘Bharat ko Mano’ will be held and there will be a talk on ‘Thoughts of Gandhi in 21st century referring to youths’.

During the ‘Bharat ko Jano’ (Know India) session, the Diaspora youth would be told about India’s age old culture, traditions and hospitality, while at the ‘Bharat ko Mano’ session the youth would be told about modern India and its innovations, like Mangalyaan or the Mars mission, about India’s missile technology and expertise in IT, Sushma Swaraj said.

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