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January 15th, 2011

President confers Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards

President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi with the awardees of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman at the ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2011, (9 Jan,New Delhi)

On January 9, President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil called upon the Indian diaspora to participate in building a better future for India and disadvantaged sections of society, during the her valedictory address at the Ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in New Delhi.

President Patil gave away Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards to eminent overseas Indians, which included Anand Satyanand from New Zealand, Prof. Veena Harbhagwan Sahajwalla from Australia, Lata Pada from Canada, Harindrapal Singh Banga from Hong Kong, Mohammad Munir Nazir Hassan Ansari from Israel, Upjit Singh Sachdeva from Liberia, Tan Sri Dato’ Ajit Singh from Malaysia, Saleh Wahid from Netherlands, the Indian Community Benevolent Forum of Qatar, Dr. Mohiaddin Syed Karimuddin from Saudi Arabia, Mano Selvanathan of Sri Lanka, Mohan Jashanmal from UAE, Baroness (Dr.) Sandip Verma from the U.K., and Ashook Kumar Ramsaran and Dr. Rajiv Shah from the United States.

Minister for Development of North- East Region (DoNER) and Mines, B.K. Handique, Secretary, Ministry of DoNER, , Jayati Chandra, and Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Dr. A. Didar Singh were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said that the Ninth PBD took forward the ‘inclusive agenda’ that was initiated last year. The focus this year was on discovering innovative areas where the overseas Indians could benefit from the many opportunities that India offered

He emphasised that the event provided an opportunity for the diaspora to explore new areas for cooperation in the national priority areas of health and education. Ideas also emerged on issues like branding the Global Indian and strengthening cultural links with the diaspora during the three-day event. The PBD this year focused on engaging with the young overseas Indians. The young overseas Indian is in a way the driver of India’s image abroad as a young, vibrant and high performing destination, he said. There was no doubt that the PBD had matured into a platform that set the tone for ways in which India builds a reciprocal long-term strategic partnership with its diaspora, he added. “We need to work towards building a relationship that will see India emerge as an economic power in the true sense. The Indian growth story is an absorbing, inspiring and continuing one. In the midst of one of the worst

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Diaspora asked to invest in land of ‘new opportunities’

Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi addressing the Valedictory Session of the ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, on January 9

The ninth edition of India’s annual convention to connect with its 27-million strong diaspora in 130 countries kicked off with a fervent appeal to the diaspora to return to their roots, a land of new opportunities, and share the fruits together.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi welcomed professionals and entrepreneurs in virtually every field — from healthcare and education to research and commerce — to participate in and benefit from India’s progress.

“I urge all of you to participate and discover areas of common interest and engagement. I especially call on our young overseas Indians to participate with enthusiasm,” Ravi told the estimated 1,500 delegates from 51 countries here for the event.Human Resource Development Minister Kapil also called for collaboration from the Indian diaspora, especially in building the education sector and that was so crucial to ensuring that the country reached its true potential. “The most important collaboration in education will be from the Indian diaspora that had gone away to look for opportunities and can come back now to this land of new opportunities,” he said.

According to Minister Sibal, India plans to increase the gross enrollment ratio of children going to college from 12 percent now to 30 percent by 2020. To cater to this growing number of youth pursuing higher studies, 1,000 more universities and 45,000 colleges were needed.

Minister Sibal said the government had opened up the entire higher education sector, adding that the Foreign Universities Bill to allow institutions from overseas to set up their hubs in India was also pending in Parliament. “We hope to get it passed soon.”

The focus this year was on the eight northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The speakers included several ministers and chief ministers. New Zealand Governor-General Anand Satyanand was the chief guest.

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India, Germany exploring civil nuclear cooperation

India and Germany are exploring the possibilities of a civil nuclear commerce partnership to take forward their strategic ties, says Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Dr. Singh, after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin said: “On the bilateral side, we deeply value Germany’s consistent support, including support in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the opening of international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear energy. We have discussed the possibilities of entering into bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy.”

Dr. Singh’s statement at the Joint Press Interaction:

“It is a great pleasure for me to visit Germany once again, and to meet with Chancellor Merkel. I have great personal admiration for Chancellor Merkel and for her leadership.

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