Jaipur, Jan 9 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Monday conferred the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman’ awards to 14 eminent overseas Indians, including Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, and a Canada-based institution, for their outstanding contributions in enhancing India’s image globally.
‘Indian overseas community is not only large, but is becoming increasingly influential in the economic, professional and political fields in the country in which they are now living. We are proud of their accomplishments,’ Patil said while addressing the valedictory function of the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.
Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is the highest award conferred by the Indian government on Non-resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and institutions run by them for their contribution in serving the Indian diaspora and enhancing India’s image in different parts of the world.
Bissessar, a person of Indian origin who became the first female prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, is the most prominent among this year’s awardees.
Congratulating Bissessar for her outstanding achievement, the president said Indian community world-wide would applaud her achievements.
‘I would like to congratulate all the winners It is an extremely distinguished list and we are honoured by the presences of the awardees at this function,’ Patil said after conferring the award.
The other Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardees include: P.V Radhakrishna Pillai from Bahrain, Sachchidanand Sahai from Cambodia, Deepak Naraindas Shivdasani from Cote D’Ivoire, Victor Shahed Smetacek from Germany, Prakash Lohia, chairman of Indorama Corporation, Jose Parayanken from Mozambique, Kiran Navinchandra Asher from Oman, Hassan Abdulkarim Chougule from Qatar, S.R. Nathan from Singapore, Khorshed Noshir Ginwala Rustomjee from South Africa, Rajesh Kumar Saraiya from Ukraine, Surendra Kumar Kaushik from US and Kalpalatha Kummamuri Guntupalli from US.
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also honoured for its contribution in bettering business and economic relations between the two countries.
So far, 133 NRI and PIOs and three institutions run by NRIs or persons of Indian origin have been conferred the award.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said the 10th edition of the annual diaspora meet saw the highest participation.
Over 2,000 delegates from 59 countries participated at the three-day event. The closing day of the event marked the 97th anniversary of homecoming of Mahatma Gandhi.
The father of the nation had come back to India from South Africa Jan 9, 1915.
‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a celebration of Indians living abroad. It is an occasion to welcome them to the land of their ancestors, to the country of their origin to interact with them and to reacquaint ourselves with each other,’ the president said.