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Britain’s Indian minister to participate in Pravasi Bharatiya Divas


New Delhi:  Priti Patel, Britain’s minister for employment and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian diaspora champion, will be on a three-day visit to India from January 7 during which she will take part in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) here.

The British Indian politician, who will visit Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi from January 7 to 9, will be the first British minister to visit India in 2016, the British High Commission said in a statement on Wednesday.

Her visit aims to build on the momentum created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015.

Patel, according to the statement, will focus on strengthening people-to-people and cultural ties, and on expanding business links between Britain and India.

She will also extend the UK’s commitment to support Prime Minister Modi’s Skills India project and formally open the United Kingdom’s newest diplomatic mission in India,

In a statement, Patel said: “Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to the UK showcased the successful collaboration between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy, and it truly marked a new era in our relationship.”

It provided a genuine opportunity for our two great nations to come together to deepen our existing bonds in business, trade, education, defence, security, culture and much more and in every walk of life our cooperation is creating skills and opportunities for our people. I am delighted to be visiting India this week to build on this momentum and progress.

Patel will begin her visit in Gujarat, where she will inaugurate the new British deputy high commission in Ahmedabad. This will be the seventh British deputy high commission in India, the country with the largest British diplomatic network.

She will meet Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli, parliament member Devusinh Chauhan and BJP youth leader Amit Thaker, according to the high commission.

Britain is the largest source of foreign direct investment into Gujarat and during her discussions with state government officials, Patel will discuss how bilateral trade and investment, innovation, technology and cultural ties between Gujarat and Britain can be enhanced.

In Kolkata, she will speak at the inauguration of the Bengal Global Business Summit and meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take forward Bengal-Britain business and cultural ties.

While in Kolkata, she will also launch the “Roadmap on Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Kolkata Strategy”.

Britain and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have been collaborating for two years to prepare this strategy paper, which aims to create a “Future Climate Smart Kolkata”, the statement added

The roadmap contains recommendations across 20 sectors, including disaster management, health, low-carbon procurement, resource conservation and use of solar energy.

In New Delhi, Patel will participate in the launch of the new UK-India Skills Pledge agreed during Modi’s visit to Britain.

Eleven British companies have committed to support skills development in India. They are HSBC, Barclays, BG Group, Rolls Royce, OCS, Mott Macdonald, G4S, BP, Aviva, M&S, GSK.

These British companies currently train around 350,000 people in India and invest around 12.7 million pounds ($18.6 million) in training both to meet internal training requirements and as part of our wide-ranging CSR programmes,

“By 2020, they expect to train 670,000 people and invest around 25 million pounds in skills training in India,” it added.

While, in Delhi, Patel will participate in this year’s edition of the PBD, the annual conference of the Indian diaspora, to be held from January 8 to 10.

This year’s PBD is being planned differently with an objective of developing a new paradigm for engagement with the diaspora over the next decade, according to an official statement.

After the inaugural session, there will be a plenary session, with Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Sushma Swaraj and union ministers and chief ministers of states attending it.

Participation in the PBD this year is through invitation only and not through online registration as was the practice. There would be an attempt to do an expert study on various issues concerning the diaspora and areas of mutual benefit to India and to them, which would help to make new policies for the benefit of India and the diaspora.

The traditional PBD conference will be held every alternative year, with a partner state and the next such convention will be held in 2017.

(Inputs from IANS)




  1. When world’s oldest democracy discriminates against world’s largest by freezing state pension what does that tell you ?
    Priti Patel can explain why the UK government discriminate by denying any state pension uprating in India.

    There is , of course , no justification for doing so but the UK Govt have made it law in the Pensions Act in the pretext that they cannot afford it even though a pensioner abroad actually saves the Govt money by not having all of the benefits available that they would if still in UK.


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Indian restaurants at risk if Britain remained in EU: Priti Patel


New Delhi: Priti Patel, UK employment minister, who is in favor of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) used country’s love for Indian food, dubbed curry, to make her case stronger.

Indian-origin minister said membership of the EU meant unmanageable levels of European migration which led to Indian chefs being denied visas.

“There are over 12,000 Indian restaurants in the UK. But the future of this sector is under pressure and at risk while we remain in the EU,” Patel said at a gathering in London yesterday to mark Commonwealth Day.

The 43-year-old is one of the leaders of “Vote Leave” campaign. The British public, on 23rd, will vote on Britain’s future in or out of the EU.

“Curry is often voted Britain’s favorite meal. But there are fewer and fewer chefs able to come into the UK to cook curry dishes and train the next generation of chefs. The curry industry supports 70,000 jobs and is worth more than 3 billion pounds to our economy,” she said.

Specifically mentioning the problems of Indian students, sportsmen and women and priests, she stated that they have been blocked from the UK due to rules that “discriminate against our Commonwealth friends”.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion, Patel said: “As the Prime Minister’s UK-India Diaspora Champion, I have heard the heartbreaking stories from families up and down the country where relatives from India who they have not seen for years have been unable to come here for a special occasion.

“I have also seen the cases of Kabaddi players struggling to get permission to play in the UK and showcase their sport. Temples and Gurdwaras face uphill battles securing visas for priests.

Students who want to study in the UK? Some of the brightest and best from around the Commonwealth are being put off…How can it be right that our membership of the EU can lead to, sportsmen, chefs, and students facing restrictions, and families being left divided? By voting to leave the EU, we can take back control over our borders and immigration policy.”

She also pointed the removal of barriers to trade with “India, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and all other Commonwealth countries” if it voted to leave the EU.

“The vested interests of other EU countries and the trade barriers, rules, and restrictions the EU imposes stand in the way of new economic opportunities with the Commonwealth. In the referendum on June 23, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to safeguard the future of our country,” she said. (Inputs from

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Indian Ambassador lauds Indian American community at PBD


Washington: The transformational role played by the Indian-American community in the development of India-US relations and its future potential were underscored by India’s Ambassador to the US Arun K. Singh.

Opening an event to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at the Indian embassy here on Friday, he also highlighted the importance of the day.

The event was well attended with enthusiastic participation by the Indian American community members representing various sectors including the government, business, professionals, artists, journalists and students.

Swadesh Chatterjee, a Padma Bhushan awardee from North Carolina, gave a talk on “Building Bridges: How Indian Americans Brought the US and India closer together”.

Chatterjee recently published a book highlighting the contribution of Indian Americans in various fields including energy cooperation.

Satyam Priyadarshy, president of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), which has 61 chapters across 17 countries, spoke on “India’s Flagship Projects and Indian Americans: Promising Possibilities”.

He also underscored the ways in which the Indian-American community can contribute to the India’s organically connected flagship projects like Smart City Mission, Skill India, Digital India, Make In India and Swachh Bharat. (IANS)

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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas format gets a face-lift

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: In a major revamp, the government on Tuesday announced a “paradigm shift” in the format of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), its engagement with the diaspora, with the mega jamboree to be held every alternate year and an event “focused on outcomes” to be held every other year.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is also minister of overseas Indian affairs, announced the changed format of India’s engagement with its diaspora at a press conference.

Sushma Swaraj said that in January 2016, a much scaled-down event will be held with the participation of just 150 specially invited foreign delegates.

The invited diaspora guests will be experts who would attend various sessions to brainstorm on issues, including the problem of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf, on the government’s flagship programs like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India and problems that Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) face, she said.

The January event will be held in the newly constructed PBD Kendra, which is ready.

Sushma Swaraj announced that the “smaller events” of the PBD would be held in the Delhi office every alternate year, while the major “mela” would be held every two years in a different state in partnership with that state government.

She said Karnataka, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have evinced interest in hosting the diaspora event.

Besides, she announced that the Regional PBD, which is held abroad, will be held this year in Los Angeles, US, on November 14-15.

She said US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he would attend.

In addition, “mini regional PBDs” would be held in two places where the Indian origin populace is less concentrated in order to increase their sense of involvement with their country of origin.

Sushma Swaraj said the forthcoming PBD in Delhi would be more “academic”.

She also announced a quiz competition “Bharat ko Janiye” in order to involve the diaspora youth in learning about India.

The 20 winners, 10 from PIO countries and 10 from countries with NRIs, would be awarded at the PBD.

Announcing the competition, Sushma Swaraj said diaspora Indians between the ages 18-35 could apply to join the quiz, in which there would be two rounds.

After the second round, 10 successful candidates each from the PIO nations and with NRI population would be selected.

They would be invited to the summit where they would have to participate in the third round.

The first three winners would be awarded at the plenary of the PBD.

The 20 youth would be taken on a “Bharat Darshan”, she announced, with the aim to acquaint them about Indian art, culture, heritage and also modern India.

She also announced that instead of honoring 15 diaspora achievers at the Delhi PBD, the government would honor an additional 15 diaspora at the mega PBD to be held every two years.

The Indian missions would suggest the names of the Indian delegates to attend the PBD.

(With inputs from IANS)