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Translation of External Affairs Minister’s address during valedictory session of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 23, 2019)

January 26, 2019

Hon’ble President of India,
Esteemed Prime Minister of Mauritius, Hon’ble Pravind Jugnauth Ji,
First Lady of India, Smt. Ramnath Kovind,
Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Ram Naik Ji,
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath Ji,
My colleague in Ministry of External Affairs, Gen V K Singh Ji,
Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs, Shri Dnyaneshwar Mulay,
Governor of Uttarakhand, Smt. Baby Rani Maurya Ji, who specially came here today,
And my beloved brothers and sisters present in this auditorium,
Rashtrapati Ji,

Today, I would like to specially welcome you from this stage and there is a reason for that. The reason for it is that it is a tradition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas that the Prime Minister inaugurates the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 8 and the President concludes the event on January 9 and honors the Diaspora community members.

Due to this tradition, your diary had been booked for 9th January. But this time, wherever Prime Minister visited in the last year or where I visited or General VK Singh Ji visited, a demand from the Indian community was continuously made, because till then the dates for Kumbh had been announced that it will be held from January 15 in Prayagraj.The demand was can’t you push the dates a little bit and take us also to the Kumbh for the holy dip?

After that people saw the ten ASEAN leaders sitting with you on the Rajpath, another demand was added by them whether the dates could not be pushed in a way so that we could also see the Republic Day Parade on 26th January; so that we can also enjoy the Parade.

So after a lot of discussions we decided that we should fulfill this wish of the Indian community and we fixed the dates of 21-22-23 January so that after the three day event of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas we will take them to visit the Kumbh Mela on 24th, bring them to Delhi on 25thand then show them the Republic Day Parade on January 26.

So we approached you and informed that this time the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will not be concluded on January 9, the dates have changed and you should visit us on 23rd January. I want to tell all the diaspora members that without delaying a moment and without any hesitation, the way in which you agreed to come here on these changed dates, it clearly shows how much affection and respect you have for our diaspora community. Therefore I would like to specially welcome you not only from my side but also on behalf of all the diaspora members present here today.

Hon’ble President,

Let me tell you something about the tradition of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. Ever since the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan began from the time of Atal Ji in 2003, the tradition of honoring 15 diaspora members also started. But in 2015 we started doing the event every two years instead of doing it annually, and had we honored only 15 people, it would have been unfair to them.

And that is why we do celebrate the PBD every two years but there was no reduction in the number of diaspora members being honored. So now we celebrate the PBD every two years however now we honor 30 diaspora members in the PBD.

For this, a proper jury is formed and this jury is presided by the Vice President himself. People are mostly selected from two categories. First category is of those Overseas Indians and the Indigenous People who have earned rank and prestige on their own.

Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, who is sitting with you, he has received the award in the first category. He was honored with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. And let me tell you another thing which will surprise you. Prior to that, his father Sir Aniruddh Jugnauth has also been conferred with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award.

Even today, two persons are sitting here between us, Himanshu Gulati, who will be honored in a while, has been elected as an MP in Norway. Kamaljeet Bakshi ji is sitting here, he is a four-time MP, he has also been awarded earlier.

The generation which went from here suffering but struggled so much to move ahead that today they have become administrators and rulers at least in those countries and going ahead also more of them will be becoming rulers. So there is a category that is getting the posts or the category that is getting prestige, which is earning their success on their own.

The second category is of those people who are doing so much work for the Indian community, whatever any embassy does for you diaspora members is the official thing, but these people are personally doing a lot of work for the Indian community.

I would like to give an example, last time we had selected a person who is a truck driver. If a person dies abroad who does not have anybody, he will send the mortal remains of such person to India from his own expenses. We had honored him with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

Even those who have been selected today have achieved the rank and prestige. There are also people who have devoted their whole life to the Indian community. I congratulate all of our reputable Indians and the members of Indian Diaspora in advance for being awarded.

You are all fortunate that the President is present between us despite the change of dates. This thing has given you a lot of enthusiasm, that's why I have specially welcomed him on behalf of you.

And Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth Ji has been with us for the last three days. He came here on 21st, yesterday you heard his speech and what an inspiring speech it was. From his speech we have taken so many learnings home. He visited Baba Vishwanath Temple here yesterday, enjoyed the boat ride, participated in the Ganga Arti, and today he is present among us in this Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

He represents both the categories, one for being our Chief Guest and the other because we have invited old Pravasi Bharatiya Awardees. I feel that we must welcome him with double the amount of applause.

Hon’ble President,

As I said in the beginning, I want to welcome you specially. Today, all the overseas Indians, the figure of 7228 registrations which has just been given by Geetika Ganju, has broken all the old records this time. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is very unique and special. If anyone gets an opportunity to talk to you then he will say that they never imagined that they will witness such a Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. I welcome you once again in this unique and unparalleled Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Thank you.


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