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Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Conference on ''Bringing together Young Achievers from India and Indian Diaspora''

January 08, 2021

Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju ji;
Special Guest, Ms. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Hon’ble Minister for Youth, Community and Voluntary Sector, and Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, New Zealand;
Secretary, Department of Youth Affairs, Smt. Usha Sharma;
Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs and Consular, Passports & Visa),
Shri Sanjay Bhattacharyya ji;
Distinguished guests from abroad and India;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Namaskar !

  • It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Youth Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Conference of the 16th PBD convention. Let me also take this opportunity to wish everyone connected to us a very happy, fulfilling and prosperous New Year.
  • We have amongst us today, Special Guest, Ms. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Hon’ble Minister for Youth, Community and Voluntary Sector, and Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, New Zealand. I thank you Hon’ble Minister from New Zealand for accepting our Invitation and joining this Conference live to share your ideas with Indian and diaspora youth from across the Globe.
  • Every year we have the honour to host and interact in person with our young diaspora from different countries and continents across the world. However, the COVID-pandemic has now altered dramatically the ways the world used to operate. As we all know, the digital and virtual platforms have become the new stages to meet and celebrate. Hence, we decided to hold the Youth Conference virtually. However, the change in platforms of celebrations has not changed our enthusiasm.


  • The 31 million strong Indian diaspora have established themselves in all corners of the globe. But their links to India still remain strong and vibrant and serve as ‘living root bridges’ which extend to the Americas and far-off Caribbean Islands in the West to the South East Asia, and to the Pacific Islands of New Zealand and Fiji all the way in the East. This Youth Conference is aimed at bringing together the young generation of Indians and overseas Indians who are confident, aspirational and are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, resourcefulness on a single platform. The theme for today’s conference is –"Bringing together Young Achievers from India and Indian Diaspora”. We wish to provide a platform for engaging the eminent diaspora youth with India’s accomplished youth for discussing and exploring ideas to work in different areas to help India on its journey towards becoming a global leader.
  • Today, India is seen as a rising power, and lauded across the world for the way she has converged her strong democratic institutions with rapid development. India’s youth is her biggest asset. With the median age of 28 years, India's population is among the youngest in this ageing world. With more than half of the 1.3 billion population of India under 35 years, India’s working-age population has numerically outstripped its non-working age population. While the rest of the world is growing older, India is getting younger and younger. Herein lies the importance of the Youth PBD Conference as this gives you an opportunity to be a part of India’s development journey towards a New and Aatmanirbhar India.
  • While the Indian diaspora started migrating centuries ago, it is the migration of the educated, highly skilled and dynamic young Indians to corporate boardrooms, research laboratories, engineering workshops and university faculties that has brought laurels to India. While India is moving ahead on the path of development at a rapid pace, the achievements and support of our Indian diaspora abroad cannot be overemphasized. Indians are leading the world today. We have people of Indian origin, as heads of the state and heads of the government, and as heads of large multi-national corporations, raising India's global profile.
  • We all are witness to their recent electoral victories worldwide. I would like to recall the formations of Government under His Excellency President Irfan Ali in Guyana and His Excellency President Chandrikapersad Santokhi in Suriname. Our Special Guest, Ms. Priyanca Radhakrishnan is the first woman of Indian origin to become a Minister in the Government of New Zealand. Indian origin leaders have also done exceptionally well at the recently-held elections in the United States. Vice President-elect Her Excellency Ms Kamala Harris, with family roots in India, is the first woman to reach the apex of power in the US. There are leaders of Indian origin in Congress, Senate and scores have won seats in the State legislatures in the USA.
  • The success of each of our overseas Indian has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians and of India. The world now appreciates India and Indians for their indomitable spirit, their sense of dedication, their patience and forbearance in the face of extreme hardships and then embracing culture and values. Our diaspora is indisputable achiever in fields ranging from healthcare to education, from technology to entertainment, and from social sector to politics. Its achievements and success encourage us to create a business, investment and economic climate, which is as conducive to success as anywhere else in the world.
  • We can immensely benefit mutually from your skills and talents and the vast opportunities arising with India’s fast paced development and transformation. India is the global leader in the number of start-ups and innovation in the technical field. World has recognized that the Indian diaspora has made a tremendous contribution in the global technical field with a majority of startups in Silicon Valley having an Indian co-founder. With rapid technological advancement, India is a global leader in the Space and Science & Technology. In order to leverage our demographic edge and to boost up our training and education infrastructure, we would like to partner with our young overseas achievers to enhance our skill development infrastructure. We also invite you to share your expertise with us in your areas of interest.
  • The Government has initiated a spate of reforms in the economic and financial sector which has immensely opened up India’s investment regime. As members of our extended family, overseas Indians hold a special place in our plans for India’s development agenda. We have launched a number of flagship programmes such as Smart Cities Mission; the Digital India; the Skill India; the Start Up India; the Swachh Bharat campaign etc in order to achieve our objectives of a prosperous, skillful, enterprising, clean and futuristic Aatmanirbhar Bharat. We invite you to help us define the contours of this New Self-reliant India by participating wholeheartedly in these initiatives.

    My young Friends,

  • The Government has also initiated many programmes and schemes to help revive the connections of the young diaspora members to their motherland. The most important of these is the Know India Programme, which gives a unique opportunity to the young students and professionals particularly from Girmitya countries to visit India and get re-acquainted with their ancestral roots and witness the transformation of India in fields of politics, economy, science and technology, first hand. Started in 2004, we have had 59 editions of Know India programme since its inception.
  • Another initiative is the Bharat ko Janiye Quiz which was started in 2015 to increase the awareness of India and its culture among the diaspora youth. The 3rd edition of the Bharat ko Janiye Quiz was concluded recently and the winners will be awarded tomorrow during the PBD convention in the presence of the Prime Minister of India.
  • We are also keen on promoting India as the global education hub for high-class quality education. To enable our diaspora students an opportunity to study in Indian universities, we have initiated the Scholarships Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC) which offers scholarships to Indian origin children to pursue Undergraduate courses in Indian Universities and Institutes.
  • Along with high-quality education, we want India to be a hub for high-end Research & Development capacities. We have started various programmes such as GIAN, VAJRA, and Mission Shodh Ganga which are aimed towards fostering a strong international connect between the diaspora and the R&D ecosystem of India and enabling the overseas scientific community to conduct high end research in India. I would like you to contribute to the Higher Education and Research and Development sectors with your technical expertise and knowledge sharing, and help India harness its huge demographic dividend.
  • India is going to be the global source of skilled manpower by 2022, and our Skill India programme is aimed towards making India ready to become the Skill capital of the world by then. Our aim is to not just export "man-power” to the world, but to export "skills”. Our programme on Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana aims to enhance the skills of Indian youth who seek overseas employment which will not only lead to better image of India in the developed world but will also lead to better salaries and better remittances, thus raising India’s GDP further.


  • I am hopeful that today’s deliberations will be fruitful in giving us insights into innovative ways in which our young achievers from overseas and India can collaborate together for mutual advancement and benefit.
  • As you all are aware, we are holding the 16th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas tomorrow in virtual format. I invite you all to participate in the PBD convention tomorrow and hear Hon’ble Modi ji’s vision for the Diaspora and India. I also invite you to witness the felicitation of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees who will be announced in the presence of Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji.
  • Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs, to place my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for their support in making this event possible.
  • In the end, let me quote Swami Vivekananda, who had immense faith in the youth power. He said "All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in yourself. Do not believe that you are weak. Do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. Hence, you can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one.”
  • Let us all believe in his words and march forward together!
Jai Hind



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