The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015 (PBD), the flagship event of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Government of India, is likely to see over 500 pre-scheduled business meetings during the PBD and the Vibrant Gujarat Summit between January 7 to 13 in Gandhinagar.
Calling it the biggest PBD so far, Charu Mathur, chief executive officer, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), the economic engagement arm for the diaspora of the MOIA, said that “The B2B meeting starting during the PBD would continue through out the year. There is a huge spike in the interest levels from the non-resident Indians this year, especially from the Gulf region.”
The OIFC is a public-private partnership between the MOIA and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) formed to facilitate the economic and intellectual engagement of the Indian diaspora with India. It is working towards setting the stage for the ninth annual “Market Place Forum” from January 7 to 13, during the PBD and the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The ‘Market Place Forum’, a premier business networking platform for PBD delegates would be inaugurated by the Minister of External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.
Mathur added that the OIFC will be signing MoUs with various business associations for strengthening connections with the Indian diaspora. “After our diaspora Engagement Meets in Bahrain and London in 2014, we have received multiple queries from the Indian diaspora on sectors of clean energy, education and skills, healthcare, infrastructure and real estate,” she claimed adding that the diaspora is curious to know about how the new government at the Centre is working, handling things. “They want to witness what is happening on ground here in India,” Mathur said.
PBD is celebrated on January 9 every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 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. The PBD is organised between January 7-9 every year since 2003.
As per the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions (DIPP), ministry of Commerce, GoI, the total foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflows from individual non-resident Indians (NRIs) from January 2000 to April 2013 was $ 4684.25 million. Net inflows under various NRI deposit schemes of the RBI increased significantly during 2013-14 and stood at $ 38.9 billion while it was $ 14.8 billion in 2012-13. About seven per cent of the funds remitted by the overseas Indians are invested in land, property and equity shares. While 20 per cent of the funds are parked in bank deposits, share of remittances used to meet family expenses has come down from 61 per cent to 49 per cent, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) survey.