The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Mukheshwar Choonee, made the announcement at a joint press conference by the Ministry of Arts and Culture and the High Commission of India, held yesterday at the ministry in Port Louis in the context of the upcoming PBD in India. It is to be recalled that the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is the highest distinction given by the Indian government to Non-resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin for their exceptional and meritorious contribution in serving the Indian Diaspora and enhancing India’s image in different parts of the world. It is conferred by the President of the Republic of India during the PBD Convention held annually in January in India since 2003 to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian communities in the development of India. Some 14 individuals will be awarded the distinction at the 11th PBD.
The PBD Convention is a unique platform for the overseas Indian community spread across the globe to discuss key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora, interact among themselves and share their experiences in various fields as well as engage with the Government of India and its people for mutually beneficial activities. It is also a forum where the Government of India showcases investment opportunities in India and its potential in various sectors.
The Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will inaugurate the event on 8 January while the President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, will deliver the valedictory address on 9 January. Some 2,500 delegates from 60 countries including Mauritius are expected during the three-day convention. The theme chosen is Engaging Diaspora: The Indian Growth Story. Several seminars on Tourism, Pure Sciences and Skill Development will be organised. As for plenary sessions, they will focus on India’s Growth: Greater Opportunities, Heritage and Diaspora, Engaging Young Overseas Indians and Investment Opportunities in States.
According to Minister Choonee, a delegation of 100 Mauritian nationals will participate in PBD 2013. They comprise representatives of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin - Mauritius, various socio-cultural centres and speaking unions, among others. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and the Board of Investment will also be present at the Convention to showcase Mauritius as a tourism and investment hub.
Mr Choonee added that, following the Convention, he will be leading a delegation to Mumbai to meet with all stakeholders from the Indian Cinema Industries to market the film framework created by the Government to encourage the setting up of a film industry and attract international film producers of repute in Mauritius. It is to be recalled that in the 2013 budget, one of the main incentives regarding the film framework that provides for a 25% rebate to film makers on all qualified production has been reviewed. The rebate of qualified production expenditures now stands at 30%, bringing it at par with other emerging players. The Minister will also inform Indian producers of the broadening of the spectrum of eligible productions in Mauritius to include high end TV commercials and documentaries.