A first of its kind PIO Parliamentarians Conference is being held in New Delhi on January 9th 2018. The Conference will be attended by 141 PIO delegates from all over the world as confirmed by MEA. With 23 countries participating there are 124 Members of Parliament and 17 Mayors attending the one day conference. Sitting MP's from all over the world have been invited.
The PIO Parliamentarians Conference will be inauguarted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It will have two thematic sessions. The first session will be inaugurated by Dy Chairman Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien with Special Guest Shashi Tharoor followed by the second session chaired by Dy Speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai with Anant Kumar as Special Guest. The first session will be dedicated to the theme 'The Journey from Struggle to Parlaiment' and the second session will deliberate upon 'Role of PIO Parlaimentarians'.
Guyana is sending the largest contingent of 23 MP's and 3 Mayors. 16 MP's and 4 Mayors from Trinidad & Tabago will be attending as the second largest delegation. UK is sending a 16 member delegation with 15 MP's and 1 Mayor followed by Mauritius with 11 MP's and 2 Mayors. Surinam has 9 member delegation, South Africa 6, Fiji 7 and Canada 5. Other countries attending are Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Martinique, Malaysia, NewZealand, Philipines, Portugal, Reunion Island, Seychelles, Switzerland, Tanzania, USA. Other than Srilanka no other SAARC country is part of the invited list.
'Connecting with Indian Parliamentarians all over the world, to see how diasporic community can help people to people connect as well as creating an awareness of how big is the Indian community overseas is the immediate reason behind this exercise', says Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay Secretary [CPV & OIA]. He said long run diplomacy is the broader fallout.
On the visit of PIO's to India Mulay says it will be 'a spiritual exercise, a catharsis for many of them to come to India', as they will be coming after a long time to their motherland.
India has the second largest diaspora in the world which is about 31.2 million people. 13 million People of Indian descent live abroad, approximately 17 million are Indian passport holders staying overseas. India has been engaging with them since last many years in different ways.
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas which is celebrated every year on January 9 commemorates Mahatma Gandhi's return to India. Since 2016 it is now held once in two years. The External Affairs Ministry holds multiple conferences in the interim period. Last year 10 sessions were held and this year 3 have taken place till now.
Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is a comprehensive theme based interaction with the diaspora. In this PIO conference government of India has invited sitting MP's across the globe which include about 270 people of Indian descent occupying different positions in Parliaments.