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Pravasi Bhartiya Divas conference now every other year

New Delhi: The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) conference, a programme to connect with the Indian diaspora, will be held biennially instead of every year, the government today said.

Announcing the plan to organise the event every other year, the government said it would now hold two ‘mini’ Regional PBDs annually in countries with a presence of Indian diaspora.

The yearly events will be held from January 8-10, but on a smaller scale with around 150 delegates. It will be followed by the biennial mega conference in association with states.

The government has asked its missions to identify experts among overseas Indian communities on various subjects with a focus on areas like the flagship programmes of the NDA government such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is celebrated on January 9 every year.

The conference, which will be held from January 8 to 10 next year, will also see deliberations on difficulties faced by Indian workers in the Gulf countries.

Elaborating on the changes made in the annual PBD meet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who also holds the charge of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOA), said the event will now take place in a biennial format in association with partner states in 2017.

She said that in the earlier PBD conferences, of which there have been 13, there was no “in depth” and “good” discussion on issues and that was the thrust behind changing the format.

“This year, we will host the PBD conference at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in Chanakyapuri, but at a smaller level.

Unlike the traditional PBD conference, where one can participate after registering, this time the event will be only on the basis of invitation.

“We will invite overseas experts and a team will be formed together with Indian experts to deliberate on different issues, including the difficulties faced by Indians workers in Gulf countries,” Swaraj said.

The government is planning to invite around 150 experts from around the world and every team will have 7-8 foreign experts and 2-3 three Indian experts.

Deliberations will be organised on several issues, including the flagship programmes of the Narendra Modi government. The conference will also have five plenary sessions.

“Whatever was discussed at this year’s conference will be presented before the next PBD conference, which will be like the ones hosted earlier. We will tell them what steps the government has taken after the deliberations,” Swaraj said.