Saturday, Nov 02, 2002
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By Our Diplomatic Correspondent
Alongside, the Government has decided to introduce a "Bharat Samman" which will be presented to a maximum of 10 Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin (NRIs/PIOs).
A jury headed by the Vice-President, B.S. Shekhawat, is being given final touches so that the awards can be presented in time for January 9.
Addressing a press conference today, L.M. Singhvi, chief of the organising committee for the three-day function to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, said the event would promote "bonding" between NRIs, PIOs and resident Indians.
Dr. Singhvi said the meeting of the organising committee held today did not decide on the budget for the event. Nobel laureates, V.S. Naipaul and Amartya Sen, are expected to attend the meet, which will have a delegate fee apart from partnership with the FICCI. Some 1,500 persons are expected to attend the function.
J.C. Sharma, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that "about half-a-crore" was spent on travel expenses of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora (also chaired by Dr. Singhvi). The panel, which recommended the holding of the "Divas", among other things, travelled to as many as 20 countries to study the problems faced by the Indian diaspora.
A note distributed today said the January 9-11 event would be the largest gathering of the "global" Indian family. "For the first time ever, India is officially engaging with its 20 million-strong diaspora across 110 countries and seven continents to rejuvenate its bonds with them," it said.
Apart from the Prime Minister, the External Affairs Minister, the Finance Minister and the Information Technology Minister are expected to speak.
The Mauritus Prime Minister, Anerood Jugnauth, Ujjal Dosanjh from Canada, Samy Velu from Malaysia, Swraj Paul and Navneet Dholakia are expected to attend the conference.
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