You are a living bridge between India and the World, President tells diaspora

The three-day long PBD 2019 concluded today with conferring of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards on 30 Indian diaspora members, with President Ram Nath Kovind calling them "a living bridge between India and the world."

President of India Ram Nath Kovind (centre) presenting the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan Award to a chosen winner as EAM sushma Swaraj (left) looks on during the final day of the convention at Varanasi today. Photo courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan
President of India Ram Nath Kovind (centre) presenting the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan Award to a chosen winner as EAM sushma Swaraj (left) looks on during the final day of the convention at Varanasi today. Photo courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan

"[I am] happy to have conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman on 30 members of our diaspora. We value your committed efforts to promote India and to work for the welfare of Indian community abroad. You are a living bridge between India and the world," said President Kovind, who presided over the valedictory session which saw poignant moments of homecoming, nostalgia and reunion of many first-timers whose forefathers left the soil centuries ago.

Tomorrow all are headed to Kumbh Mela, the grandest and biggest congregation of Hindu devotees at Prayagraj and then to Republic Day in Delhi on January 26.

Of 30 recipients, 28 are individuals and 2 are organisations comprising diaspora – Indian Community Association in Egypt and Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, which got honour for their community service. All recipients are from 23 countries.

The full list of all 30 awardees is as follows:

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"It is a great honour here being in Varanasi and for many of us of Indian origin living abroad. I would like to thank India government and the people who have been involved that Pravasi Bhartiyas are also being honoured like this and are being involved in India's future," Gulati said in acceptance speech of the awards.

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is the highest honour conferred by the President of India as a part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conventions on a Non Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) or organization or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs, who have made significant contribution in one of the following fields:

Better understanding abroad of India; support to India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way; building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence; social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad; welfare of the local Indian community; Philanthropic and charitable work; eminence in one’s field or outstanding work, which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence; or eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers).

President Kovind with the PBSA winners in Varanasi. Photo courtesy: PBD Convention
President Kovind with the PBSA winners in Varanasi. Photo courtesy: PBD Convention

From 2003 till 2015, 15 PBSAs were awarded during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention every year. Since 2015, PBD Convention is being held bi-annually and the number of PBSAs have been increased to 30.

Since 2015, PBD Convention is being held bi-annually and the number of PBSAs have been increased to 30.
Since 2015, PBD Convention is being held bi-annually and the number of PBSAs have been increased to 30. Photo courtesy: PBD Convention

A committee of officers constituted by MEA examines the nominations received with a view to ensure their completeness & draw up a short citation on each nominee to facilitate the work of the Jury-cum-Awards-Committee. The Committee comprises Vice President of India - Chairman, Minister of External Affairs - Vice-Chairman, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister - Member, Home Secretary - Member, Foreign Secretary - Member, five members nominated by the PM, Secretary Overseas Indian Affairs in MEA as Member Secretary.

PBD Convention delegates listening to the President's Address. Photo courtesy: PBD Convention
PBD Convention delegates listening to the President's Address. Photo courtesy: PBD Convention

This time 30 awards have been conferred by the President on the Indian Diaspora from diverse fields, including Administration, Arts and Academics, Business and Entrepreneurship, Community and Social Service, Engineering, Medical Science, etc.

 

Author
Pradeep Rana
Pradeep Rana – Senior Correspondent

Pradeep Rana has worked as a journalist with news ​agencies UNI and PTI, newspapers Indian Express and The Times Of India, and television channel NHK as South Asia Correspondent. He has also worked as Media Analyst at US Embassy, and edited several magazines and a medical handbook.

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