Indian government has conferred the highest Indian diaspora award-Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards (PBSA) on 30 NRIs this year. It includes successful New Zealand’s businessman Bhav Dhillon who is also the Honorary Consul of India, overseeing New Zealand-India diaspora issues in Auckland.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to Dhillon on January 23, final day of the three-day biennial diaspora conclave of India (Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas) organised at Varanasi in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
The full list of all 30 Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awardees is as follows
Conferment of PBSA award help the successful Auckland based businessman Bhav Dhillon join the elite company of eminent New Zealanders of Indian origin such as Rt. Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, the former Governor General of New Zealand, Sukhi Turner (Mayor of Dunedin) and Judge Ajit Swaran Singh (Manukau District court Judge), and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (Member of Parliament) – to be honoured with Indian government’s highest Indian diaspora award – Pravasi Bhartiya Samman (Overseas Indian Award).
Talking to Connected to India, Bhav Dhillon, said, “30 million people of Indian origin live overseas and many of them are excelling in their respective fields. These awards are about recognising these individuals who help in promoting a positive image of India in their respective countries”
“For me personally, this award is a big morale booster and motivator for me to continue my work in the India-New Zealand space and I dedicate this award to the numerous other community leaders in New Zealand who help me on a daily basis in helping other people of Indian origin and also helping further the already blossoming bilateral relation between India and New Zealand,” he said.
“It is indeed great honour and privilege to receive this award and I thank the Indian government for recognising my work,” he added.
The award is given to acknowledge significant contributions made by global citizens of Indian-origin in the specific areas including better understanding abroad of India, support to India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way and building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence.
Dhillon is honoured in the category of excellence in business and services to the Indian diaspora.
The award also puts Dhillon in the elite league of eminent global citizens of Indian-origin to have received this prestigious award including Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft) Lord Meghnad Desai (British economist and Labour politician), Lord B. C. Parekh (political theorist and Labour member of the House of Lords), Shashi Tharoor ( Renowned Author, former career international diplomat and Indian politician), Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (New Zealand Member of Parliament) Sam Pitroda, Prof Jagdish Bhagwati (Economist, Professor of Law and Economy at University of Columbia), and Prof C. K. Prahalad (Management Guru, rated as world's most influential business thinker).
Bhav Dhillon is the managing director of CEMIX, the iconic Kiwi-brand that has been in New Zealand for over three decades, and is a market leader in manufacturing and innovation of construction products, with a nationwide presence. Cemix has been part of the Deloitte Fast50 in 2011 and a finalist in the Green Ribbon Awards.
He is also the Chair of There's a Better Way Foundation which works alongside New Zealand Police, Auckland Council and other like-minded organisations for creating pathways for positive change among kiwi youth at risk of gang culture and drugs.
Dhillon is also passionately involved in the India-New Zealand relationship and is on the Board and Treasurer of India-New Zealand Business Council and has accompanied the Prime Minister twice on his trips to India.
Since 2017 Dhillon has been appointed by the President of India as the Honorary Consul of India, overseeing Kiwi-India diaspora issues in Auckland, Northland and Waikato region apart from assisting the office of the Indian High Commission on bilateral relations, trade and welfare of Indian international students in the country.
He is Publisher/Managing Director of the Indian community’s only English language weekly newspaper The Indian Weekender.
On the community front, he is the Chairman of the Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame Honours, which has created a special niche for being the biggest formal event of the Indian community whereby celebrating the role models within the Indian community in a manner that also highlights the aspirations and vibrancy of this fastest-growing immigrant group in New Zealand