Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the 13th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Gandhinagar's swank Mahatma Mandir.
Modi, in his address to over 4,000 delegates who had arrived here for the event, said that several opportunities await the NRIs in India and that they will be welcomed with open arms. "The world is seeing India with immense hope and optimism. The rich and the poor nations are looking at India...," Modi said in his inaugural address at the 13th PBD.
Modi praised the diaspora for putting India on the global map and said that they are admired all around the world for their values. "The whole world admires the Indian community not due to the money but the values they are living with," he said.
Acknowledging the problems faced by the NRIs, Modi said that the visa on arrival facility is being extended to several countries. Modi added that PIO and OCI have been merged due to which everyone will get the same benefits.
The PM, in his 30-minute long speech, said that "100 years ago, one 'NRI' returned to India and today one Gujarati NRI welcomes entire overseas Indian community." "There was a time when professionals in India went to distant lands to explore new possibilities. Now India awaits you with opportunities," the PM told the NRI delegates.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which is the world's largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin, aims at enhancing networking and reinforcing commercial linkages.
There are 25 million people of Indian-origin residing outside India. The event is being held in Gandhinagar on January 7-9 to mark the centenary of India's "sarva sreshtha pravasi Bharatiya", or foremost Indian diaspora member, Mahatma Gandhi's return to the country from South Africa.
The Mahatma Mandir is a sprawling complex spread across 60,000 sq mt.