Greater connectivity Between Indian and Diaspora Youth Will Result In Creation of Wealth and Prosperity: Shri Vayalar Ravi Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affirs, Launches Youth Sess

for Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs | Date - 07-01-2014

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Vayalar Ravi, today called for greater connectivity between Indian and diaspora youth ‘which should eventually result in economic cooperation leading to the creation of wealth, livelihoods and prosperity.’

Shri Ravi was addressing the youth session of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Today’s session precedes the main session of the three day event to be formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, tomorrow.

Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Jitendra Singh, also addressed the session.

The following is the full text of his speech:

I am very happy and privileged to meet you in this youth session of the 12th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi. As you know, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being celebrated on the 9th of January every year to mark the return of our greatest Pravasi, Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. Thus, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is of great importance as it symbolises the struggle for freedom of our mother country, India.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas fosters a new bond between India and her overseas Indian citizens who work and live in various parts of the world for generations. The PBD will be formally inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister tomorrow. Today we are meeting for the special sessions organised for youth. It is very heartening to see young diaspora delegates from second and third generations of people of Indian origin in this august gathering. Your mother country, India has been recognising and appreciating the valuable contribution of its diaspora by granting Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to its distinguished diaspora members who have excelled in various fields.

On this occasion, I would like to mention that we will have the privilege of having Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Federal Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Malaysia as our Chief Guest for this 12th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

This 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is very significant in view of the fact that a Youth PBD is being celebrated on the first day. India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is the partner Ministry for this event. You have already heard my colleague, Shri Jitendra Singh, who is in charge of this Ministry. Considering the fact that the youth population in India is one of the largest in the whole world, this makes India a very youthful and vibrant country. It is estimated that more than 50% of our working population is between the age group of 18-35 years and are contributing immensely to the growth and development of our great country India.

It is also exhilarating to note that diaspora youth are also excelling in various fields and contributing immensely to the growth of their host countries, in the same way their parents and forefathers did. Many young people of Indian origin are beginning to occupy important positions of leadership in their countries. It is also pertinent to note that the youth diaspora is upholding the great traditions and cultural heritage of their mother country India, thereby setting valuable examples for the youth population of their host countries. It is necessary for our youth to interact with their Pravasi counterparts and today’s sessions provide an important forum for this.

The various sessions of this Youth PBD like ‘Aspirations of Diaspora Youth’, ‘Sharing a Common Heritage: The Emotional Connect’ and that on ‘Young Achievers’ should witness meaningful dialogue and interaction between eminent speakers from among the representatives of Indian Diaspora and the Youth delegates. It is hoped that these sessions will also serve to inform the participants of India’s cultural heritage. They will also expose the youth diaspora from various countries to the opportunities for growth and development India’s growing economy presents today. Indeed, the interactions today should foster greater connectivity between Indian and diaspora youth, which should eventually result in economic cooperation leading to the creation of wealth, livelihoods and prosperity.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has been in the forefront in engaging the youth diaspora residing in various countries by introducing various schemes and projects like Know India Programme (KIP); Study India Programme (SIP) and Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC). These schemes and programmes have benefitted the diaspora youth as well as the diaspora children immensely by exposing them to the cultural heritage and the growth and development story of their mother country, India. It is our endeavour to further enrich and expand these programmes so that our young diaspora continue to benefit and stay connected to their mother country. This association will be mutually beneficial to all of you and your host country as well as to your ancestral country, India. It is my hope that the deliberations in today’s meetings will throw up new ideas for us to engage more with Pravasi youth.

This vast gathering of young diaspora from various countries has a global relevance. In times of distress and strife, India’s heritage represented by the diaspora has to reiterate its tolerance and set an example to the whole world. The various achievements of the Indian diaspora especially the youth diaspora will also show to the world the values of hard work and sincerity that are inherent in our culture. This meaningful engagement in the form of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas would certainly help in showcasing the achievements of India and its diaspora. It is also important that today’s sessions should focus on the way forward to deepening the engagement between the new generation of Pravasis and their Indian counterparts. This is the age of globalisation, with greater trade and business links between nations. It is my wish that Indian youth and their diaspora counterparts should come together in developing strong networks, which would lead to partnerships in trade, industry, entrepreneurship and social work. This will lead to the creation of wealth and employment, which will benefit the masses at large. Our goal should be to build a strong global connect of youth for this purpose. This is my message to all of you today.

Therefore, the theme of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, ‘Engaging Diaspora: Connecting across Generations’ is very apt and meaningful considering the cross section of diaspora who have assembled here in this grand engagement in Delhi. Please take back the message from this engagement to your countries and stay connected to your country of origin.


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