Fifteenth edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas opens in Varanasi

The 15th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas got under way at the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul in Varanasi today, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating its plenary session. 

Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth was the chief guest at the inaugural function of PBD 2019, which was attended by governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj along with UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar, chief minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat, union minister of state for overseas Indian affairs Retd General V K Singh and several other dignitaries graced the occasion.
In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is the love and affection of the diaspora for the land of their forefathers which has brought them to India. He called upon the NRI community to join hands for building a new India.
PM lauded the role of Indian diaspora in keeping alive the tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. He said the NRIs are not only the brand ambassadors of India but also represent its strength, capabilities and characteristics. He urged the diaspora to participate in building a New India specially in research and innovation.
PM said that with its rapid progress, India is being seen on a high pedestal across the world and is in a position to lead the global community. International Solar Alliance is one such example. Modi added that local solution and global application is our mantra. He termed International Solar Alliance as a step in the direction of One World, One Sun, One Grid.
He said India has one of the largest start-up ecosystems and the world's largest healthcare scheme to its credit. The country has moved on with great strides in `Make in India’ and is on course to become a global economic powerhouse
PM lamented that due to lack of will power and proper policies of the previous government, a large chunk of funds earmarked for the poor was not available for the beneficiaries. However, he said his government has plugged the loopholes in the system with the help of technology. “The loot of public money has been stopped and 85 per cent of the lost money has been made available and transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.”
PM said that now Rs5,80000 crore has been transferred directly into people's accounts over the past four and a half years.PM explained how 70 million fake names have been struck off the list of beneficiaries, which is almost equal to the population of Britain, France and, Italy.
PM said these are some of the glimpses of changes ushered in by his Government which reflect the New Confidence of a New India.
PM said the diaspora is equally important in our resolve for a New India. He added that their safety is also our concern and cited how the government took upon the challenge of evacuating more than 2 lakh Indians stranded in conflict zones.
Speaking about the welfare of Indians overseas, Modi said passport and visa rules have been simplified and e-visa had made it much easier for them to travel. All Pravasi Bharatiyas are now being linked to Passport Sewa and efforts are in to issue chip based E passport.
PM said that a Pravasi Teerth DarshanYojana is being taken up. He urged overseas Indian to invite 5 non Indian families to visit India. 
Chief guest of PBD-2019, Mauritius PM, Pravind Jugnauth invoked the memories of Indian diaspora and their connect with the land of their forefathers. Speaking in Hindi and English, he said such gatherings reinforce the identity of overseas Indians as the members of one family with shared history and culture. He said, if India is unique, Indianness is universal. The Mauritian PM told that an educated and self reliant diaspora can play a major role in nation building and the Diaspora connect can help multilateralism.
He enthralled the crowd with his Bhojpuri dialect and announced that Mauritius will organise the first International Bhojpuri festival.
In her welcome address, External Affairs Minister said India today feels proud under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi. She thanked Indian diaspora for their linkages with the motherland.