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11th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Same old promises, no actions

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Kochi: The 11th edition of the three-day annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the NRI conclave, concluded here on January 9 yielding tangibly very little other than providing opportunities for celebrating and networking.

The presence of the President at the concluding session and the Prime Minister at the formal inaugural session as well as that of several Union Ministers, including Salman Khurshid, Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma, and the Planning Commission Vice Chariman Montek Singh Ahluvalia and Sam Pitroda had boosted the proceedings.

None of the Chief Ministers, other than from the host state of Kerala, attended the meet. The non-Congress Chief Ministers had shown lukewarm response to the conclave right from beginning. But even the five Congress Chief Ministers, who were earlier planning to attend the conference also, did not turn up. The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, who had come, left in a huff when he came to know that other chief ministers were not attending.

There were loud protests from sections of Gulf migrants. They said the conference had been discussing almost the same issues for the last 11 years and the delegates had been listening to the same old promises. “Unless the governments at the Center and state are able to execute these promises there is no point in continuing with this event,” said a delegate.

“I have been hearing about programs for rehabilitation of return migrants for so many years at Pravasi meets. But nothing has happened so far, ‘’ said Y. A. Rahim, the president of the Indian Association of Sharjah, who led of a small protest in front of the conference hall.

The authorities also could not give any assurance for the time-bound implementation of various demands of pravasis like online voting facilities, adhar cards, rehabilitation programs and pension and insurance schemes.