Why the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2020 is significant?
The last mega Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held in 2016. In 2017, it was held on a much smaller scale in Bengaluru while in 2018, it was held in Singapore. In 2019, the PBD was combined with the Kumbh Mela in the third week of January. Of course, there have been mini-PBDs in many of these countries in a much smaller way. That is why the 2020 PBD acquires special significance. Also, the Indian Diaspora remits close to $75 billion each year making it much larger than the Chinese Diaspora; and by far the largest and most influential diaspora in the world. In the last few years, the finance minister has been making suggestions in the budget speech about getting NRIs to invest more actively in equities. Most of the NRI investments in India have been largely in low risk products like bank deposits, bonds and small savings and a very small portion goes into equity investments. The PBD 2020 also assumes significance as the government has been actively wooing the NRIs to invest in India in a big way with their “Ease of Doing Business” narrative. The PBD 2020 will be an important platform to push across this agenda of the government.
What the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas actually does?
Needless to say, the purpose of the PBD is to offer a proper platform for NRIs and Indian policymakers to connect and work out mutual business opportunities. However, the PBD goes much beyond that also. Here are a few add ons from the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.
- It enables India to showcase its diplomatic standing with countries with a large Diaspora population; especially nations like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, etc.
- Push across a specific theme around which an Indian narrative can be built. For example, in 2015 it was held in Gujarat to coincide with the 100th year of the arrival of the Mahatma. Similarly, in 2019 the PBD was synchronized with Kumbh Mela.
- The PBD is also spread into many more mini-PBDs as India has done in places like Africa, Mauritius, Canada, Singapore and New York.
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2020 comes at a time when the world economy is struggling to revive growth and India is no exception. This offers the best opportunity for India to collaborate with its Diaspora to bring about a larger Indian narrative.