Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to become biennial event from 2019

newsimageIn an attempt to engage and bring in line the interests of the Indians, living within and outside the country, to the importance of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on Saturday, declared the special event will be celebrated every alternate year. A series of sessions, pertaining to the event, will be held to mark its importance. There will be some theme-based sessions conducted in which the Ministry of External Affairs will invite about 12 people including both the nationals and the non-resident Indians. An elaborate discussion will be conducted with them, said Swaraj, who was accompanied by Ministers of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and VK Singh. Further, some of the themes for the upcoming sessions are being decided to be around 'role of diaspora in capacity-building and artificial intelligence' and 'how diaspora gives back to India and their role with respect to the challenges in India'. Until now, 10 sessions have been conducted in a build-up to next year's programme, which will be held in Varanasi in January. At the panel discussion 'Indian Community Organisations Working for Indian Nationals in Distressed Situation', Swaraj also highlighted her efforts to ensure relief to Indians, who are living in distress in any corner of the world. "To help those Indians who are stuck at various corners of the world has become my life's aim," she said. She also recalled the 'Raahat Operation', wherein 5000 people, including over 1,000 foreigners were evacuated from Yemen in 2015. Recalling the genesis of the programme for the NRIs, she said under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Bhartiya Janata Party in 2003 had thought to dedicate one day in a year to the Indians residing abroad. Swaraj said Mahatma Gandhi was the most famous NRI of India. Thus, the day he returned to the country is regarded as the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas, which is January 9, the minister said.