Punjab to unveil NRI policy to engage expatriate community

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra

Chandigarh, Jan. 3 -- The Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal would formally launch "NRI card" at Chandigarh tomorrow while the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal would showcase Punjab as best investment destination through a power point presentation during the first leg of the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan 2013, aimed at working out solutions for the problems of the Punjabi diaspora.

Being viewed as a serious attempt to showcase Punjab as best investment destination in the country, the Punjab government is all geared up to host its first Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan to be held at Chandigarh and Jalandhar on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Designed on the lines of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) being organised by the union ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs every year, the upcoming NRI meet in Punjab was also being viewed as a platform to connect future generations of Punjabis living abroad with their roots as well as an attempt to seriously understand the issues of the expatriate community in present socio-economic context.

"The government will unveil its NRI policy to facilitate NRIs with a focus to resolve the issues of Punjabi Diaspora," Punjab NRI affairs minister Bikram Singh Majithia told Hindustan Times over phone.

Nearly 50 elected representatives of Punjabi origin from different countries including members of parliament, members of state assembly, mayors and councillors have been designated as "delegates". They included Tim Uppal, Member Parliament and minister from Canada, Manmeet Bhullar, MLA and minister, Canada, Param Gill, Canadian MP, Parminder Singh, MP Uganda, KS Bakshi, New Zealand MP, Lord Raj Loomba and Lord Diljit Rana, both of the UK MPs, Gurmant Grewal, former Canadian MP, Darshan Kang, MLA Canada, Peter Sandhu, MLA Canada, Ruby Dhillon, mayor USA, Pritam Singh Grewal, ,mayor UK, Darshan Singh Grewal, former mayor UK, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, KC Mohan and Sachin Gupta (all councillor UK) and Ajit Singh Atwal, Judge from the UK are among the prominent Punjabis abroad attending the event.

"An open discussion would be held to resolve the complaints pertaining to NRIs and special cooperation from Punjabi diaspora would also be sought to put Punjab on the fast track of development on the pattern of developed countries" Majithia said.

Badal would also release an achievement book while he would chair a brainstorming session with these elected representatives of Punjabi origin, to be followed by a power point presentation on progressive Punjab by Sukhbir, he said.

In the post lunch session, the organisers have planned interactive session on "engaging non-resident Punjabi youth with Punjab", wherein; the youngsters would share their experiences and expectations from homeland of their elders. Scot Slessor, Canada's counsel General, would make an address on employment opportunities in Canada.

He said that in afternoon session, special discussion would be held with the NRI media and their help would be sought to project the various initiatives undertaken by the government to put the state on the path of progress and development in their respective countries.

The minister informed that it is for the first time ever that the NRI media has been invited to take part in discussions regarding Punjab's development and the problems faced by NRI community. He said that the participating representatives and personalities from the various sections of NRI media would also visit Virasat-E-Khalsa to know the rich heritage and culture of Punjab.

The proceedings would be over with the concluding remarks of the deputy chief minister, who would later honour the delegates.

The sammelan would conclude on January 5 at Phagwara, where Sukhbir would interact with the NRIs, the elected representatives and the NRI media fraternity in an open session of discussion.

More than 45 renowned journalists from various countries have already reached to participate in the NRI Sammelan, he added.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.