The 15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas will be held in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi in January next year. The Indian diaspora attending the event will get an opportunity to participate in the ‘Kumbh Snan’ and attend the Republic Day parade. The announcement was made on Saturday with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath jointly launching a dedicated website for the event from January 21-23.
The government is touting the event as the first of its kind as the participants will witness the cultural heritage of Varanasi and of Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela. The theme of PBD 2019 is the “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”.
Arrangements for the Kumbh Snan (holy bath) will be made at the sangam for the participants. Those interested in participating in the event can register on the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas website till November 15.
Talking to reporters here, Swaraj said Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is held on January 9 every year, but the next edition of the event has been postponed by a few days after the Indian diaspora expressed interest in attending the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. The event will be held around the dates of the Kumbh Mela and the Republic Day parade.
Swaraj said she will interact with four Indian missions to mark PBD on January 9. The main event will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22.
“After the PBD convention, participants will be taken to Kumbh Mela by bus on January 24. Then, participants will travel from Prayagraj (Allahabad) to Delhi by train on the same day. The railways will run special Pravasi Bharti train for them,” she said.
Swaraj also said that Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth will be chief guest for the January 22 main event, while Norway leader Himanshu Gulati and New Zealand MP Charanjit Singh Bakshi will be special guests at the PBD event to be held on January 21.
The event is jointly being held by the Uttar Pradesh government and Ministry of External Affairs.
Adityanath said his government is making arrangements to showcase the “Athithi Devo Bhava” culture of the holy city of Varanasi. He said it was a good opportunity for the state to showcase its culture before the world. “We will also make arrangements for Indian diaspora to witness culture of various parts of the country at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas,” he said. On the last day on January 23, the President will confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards.