Other sessions will be held on Indians in the Gulf; Indians
in French speaking countries and a plenary on the achievement of
the Indian diaspora, including an exhibition of books by NRIs.
Earlier on January 7, the PBD youth segment will be held
on the themes of ‘Bharat ko jano’ and ‘Bharat ko mano’, to
familiarise the young NRIs with Indian traditions and
history and its modern achievements in science and
But what does PBD 2015 hold for the millions who do not
It will be the opportunity for them to see what progress
Modi makes on his promises made during his trips to USA and
Australia on dual citizenship and voting in Indian elections
by Indian passport holding NRIs.
After the merge of PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI
(Overseas Citizen of India) cards which provide lifelong
stay in India for NRIs, the next step is dual citizenship
demanded by them.
And why not?
Since the majority of 21.9 million NRIs have strong emotional
ties with India and sent over $80 billion – yes, billion – to
India that amounted to three percent of the country’s national
income in 2012, they have a stake in India.
And since ten million of them hold Indian passports, they
want to vote in Indian elections.
Right now, they can vote in person if they come to their
constituency during the elections.
In this digital age when India has pioneered with electronic
voting machines, it is unfair to deny them to vote at the Indian
And why don’t many more NRIs plan to attend this PBD?
"This conference is more about investing in India and
less about NRI issues," said a British NRI.
"We shall see what benefits are rolled out to NRIs and
how much time is devoted to hearing us rather than listening
to Indian leaders."
Another NRI from Kenya commented: "We certainly support
"Under the Congress, PBD was neglected and Keralites were
prominent because the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs
was from Kerala.
"Thus around 40 per cent of the awards went to Keralites.
"Now it remains to be seen, how this trend is changed."
A professional from Australia said, "Coming from Australia to
India to attend this meeting is an expensive exercise unless you
get tangible results in business contacts.