Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) not only touches the emotional chords of many resident and non-resident Indians but also provides an opportunity for the diaspora members to explore business options in India, marketed aggressively by several state governments.
The second day of the 14th PBD convention was special for the diaspora as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa inaugurated the proceedings. But it was also special for the chief ministers of many states as they gathered here in Bengaluru to attract the diaspora members to invest in their states.
After the formal inauguration by Modi and Costa, a special session, chaired by Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, was addressed by the Chief Ministers of Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Puducherry, and Chhattisgarh. The Chief Ministers of these states promoted business and investment as well as tourism in their respective states and also highlighted the special promotional schemes and programmes they have for the diaspora.
Inviting investments from the diaspora into the state projects, the host of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, K Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka, presented the various investment promotion schemes launched by his government as well as the rapid development of Karnataka over the years. “If you have a dream to contribute back to your country, I would urge you to consider Karnataka as your first choice. Our vision and governance philosophy give equal importance to industry as well as citizens, urban as well as rural areas. Many home-grown and multinational companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Biocon, Airbus, Toyota, Dell, Cisco, Rolls Royce and many others are headquartered here,’’ he said.
‘’Over the last 4 years, Karnataka has received foreign direct investment or FDI worth USD 5.2 billion – making us the State with the second highest FDI in India,’’ he added.
Not only business value, but the convention also provides a platform for the states to promote tourism. “Visit Maharashtra and experience the change and our efforts. We welcome you all to Maharashtra, the land of opportunities. We’re working on the first industrial Smart City – DMIC, three new airports at Navi Mumbai, Purandar and Nagpur, with projected investment of INR 1060billion for the same,” said Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
“We are connecting every single village with optical fibre and have already developed Nagpur as the first digital district of the nation,’’ he added.
The stage was set not just for the large or prominent states like Karnataka or Maharashtra. Chief Ministers from some of the smaller states were also present, highlighting the unique opportunities that their states brought to the diaspora.
“The North East is one of the 35 biodiversity hotspots on the planet and the climate supports exception blooming of flora and fauna. For this reason, our government has proposed to develop Assam as an organic farm,” said Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister, Assam, while M Narayanswami, chief minister of Puducherry, highlighted that being small, Puducherry takes quick decisions on investment proposals and also offers the most peaceful business atmosphere in the country. “We don’t have any law & order problem here in Puducherry. It is the safest place in India,” Narayanswami told the diaspora members, hinting at the alleged harassment of women in Bengaluru on the New Year’s Eve.
Apart from the session, state exhibitions at the convention also offered scope for the NRIs and PIOs to connect with the states through the stalls of various state governments, depicting strides they have made in various sectors, incentives for investment and doing business and tourism potentials.
“Visiting such conventions is fruitful as we get to know about the initiatives taken by the states, which keeps us informed about what’s happening in our country of origin in terms of opportunities and also culturally,’’ said70-year-old PIO, who travelled to Bengaluru from Austria with her family to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.