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Will Pakistan’s Gilgit-Balistan be a part of Overseas Indian Day in 2017 ? Read to know more

Centre plans on calling the diaspora from Gilgit-Balistan, the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan for Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in 2017

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  • Indian diaspora abroad is booming more than ever before and their involvement in the countries development is evident
  • The 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day will be held in Bengaluru on 9th January 2017
  • Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and the Centre  is currently discussing the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event

August 29, 2016: A lot has been said on the good and bad coming out of Modi’s strategies to reach the Indian’s living abroad. However, no one can deny that various efforts have proved to be fruitful and we can see them in the form of Visa on arrival and 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s. Similarly, to propagate a feeling of unity, Indian government has been holding a festival to mark the contribution of Indians living abroad, called the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas or the Overseas Indian Day. It’s celebrated since 2003 and the very first year saw 9,000 Indian’s coming from all around the world to Gujarat to show their support.

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Proposal to invite the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Balistan is the northern-most disputed territory of Pakistan and hence it’s only common to see some controversy when the Indian government discusses the proposal to call in diaspora from this area to the biennial event, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. The region was a part of Jammu and Kashmir, but has been under the direct control of Islamabad since November 4th, 1947 after Kashmir’s invasion by Pakistani Army . Gilgit-Baltistan is 6 times the size of Pok and is treated as a separate entity.

Motives behind the proposed action

This news comes in after PMO, addressed Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK on two separate occasions this month- during the Independence day speech and at the all-party meeting. The proposal is in accordance with the government’s diplomatic indication of presenting Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Jammu and Kashmir.

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PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Move to join in the diaspora from Gilgit-Baltistan who were previously engaged by Manmohan Singh’s government, can go either ways. The decision may lead to weakening ties with Pakistan or it could be viewed as an approach to hardline the position taken by Modi in New Delhi.

Positive Outlook

After 2006, the government’s engagement with the diaspora has been minimal. Hence, extending an invitation will address their presence and concerns about India’s ignorance. Additionally, this can be viewed as India standing up against the human rights violation in Pok, Gilgit-Baltistan and the infamous Balochistan.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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Madhya Pradesh Waives off $5.3Bn in Farm Debt

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year.

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India, farmers, farm
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The new leader of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to waive up to $5.3 billion of farm loans, becoming the latest area to offer relief ahead of a national election next year as farmers reel from losses caused by falling crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost the central state to Congress last week dealing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of the vote next year.

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who became chief minister of the state on Monday, decided to write off farmers’ loans up to 200,000 rupees, according to a notification.

farmers, Bank
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Protests on the rise

Farmers’ protests have been rising in past months due to the fall in crop prices and a rise in the cost of diesel and fertilizer.

Nearly 3.4 million farmers will benefit from the loan waiver, which is likely to cost between 350 billion rupees ($4.9 billion) to 380 billion rupees ($5.3 billion), Rajesh Rajora, the state’s principal secretary for agriculture, told Reuters.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year. (VOA)