The 13th Edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention was held successfully at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 7 – 9 January, 2015. This year’s PBD was special being the centenary year of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports was the Partner Ministry for the PBD 2015 and Gujarat was the partner State. H.E Donald Ramotar, the Hon’ble President of Guyana was the Chief Guest of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Gandhinagar in January, 2015. Maite Nkoana Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation was the Guest of Honour of the PBD-2015.

Hon’ble Prime Minister during the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas (PBD) held in Gujarat from 7-9 January, 2015 announced the starting of an Online Quiz titled ‘Bharat Ko Janiye’ for imparting knowledge on India among the Diaspora children and youth. The quiz was launched by Hon’ble Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs on 24th Nov 2015. This online quiz programme on India has been arranged for NRI / PIO and others to get an all-round understanding on India.

9th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (RPBD) Convention was organized by MOIA in Los Angeles, USA from 14th – 15th November 2015 for interaction & discussion with Indian Diaspora to ensure their connectivity with their ancestral motherland as well to know their expectations & concerns.

   (a) The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) (a PPP between Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and CII) in July 2015 decided that the OIFC will undertake enhanced and sustained engagement with overseas Indians in a proactive manner, with special emphasis on the young Diaspora, and engagement with the State Governments in India.

   (b) The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) organised the Indian Diaspora Business Meeting in Los Angeles on 14th November 2015 on the side-lines of 9th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – Los Angeles, USA.

This Ministry played a leading role in the repatriation of Indian nationals from Yemen with funding through the Indian Community Welfare Fund. A total of 5600 Indians were evacuated with the active involvement of various Ministries that was coordinated by MEA.

For the period from January to September 2015 Know India Programme (KIP) were conducted in the state of Gujarat, Goa and Punjab. A separate KIP for Francophone countries has also been started this year from 6th January to 26th January, 2015.

With a view to meet the objectives of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”, MOIA has, with effect from 16 January, 2015 started issuing Electronic clearance through the e-Migrate portal and stopped the affixing of ECR stickers on the passports from that date. This electronic clearance is also available on the data base of the Bureau of Immigration at all their Check Posts. This has made the Emigration Clearance process simpler, easier and less time consuming for the emigrant.

      (a) The Emigration Act, 1983 provides for registration of Recruiting Agents, to recruit Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) passport holders going to ECR countries on employment visa. The Rules in this regards provide for security in the form of Bank Guarantee to be provided by the Recruiting Agents, as a part of the process of the registration. The security amount has been enhanced from Rs. 20.00 lakhs to Rs.50.00 lakhs vide Gazette Notification dated 21/09/2015.

     (b) Joint Consultative Committee Meeting between India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was held on 12th – 13thOctober, 2015 to discuss various issues relating to the agreement on Labour Cooperation for Domestic Service Workers (DSW) recruitment between India and Saudi Arabia and welfare of emigrants.

This Ministry and Government of Tamil Nadu set up in June 2015, a Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) in Chennai, to provide intending migrant workers information on all aspects of overseas employment. The MRC in Chennai is the fourth such MRC in India, set up by the MOIA.

E-Office, a digital filing system, introduced in October, 2015, has been made operational in the Ministry. The system was officially launched on 01/10/2015 as a Good-governance initiative. All new files are being generated through e-office. The processing time has been reduced substantially and while ensuring transparency and accountability.

     (a)  IDF-OI held its 4th Board Meeting on 23rd May 2015 and 5th Board Meeting on 5th December 2015 chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Chairperson, IDF-OI.

(b) IDF-OI held a successful outreach from 15-16 October 2015 in three cities of UAE-Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai to showcase its projects and invite the Diaspora to make contributions. NRIs and PIOs gave commitments to support flagship programmes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Clean Ganga Mission.

The 3rd SIP was conducted from 3rd January, 2015 to 3rd February, 2015 by the Symbiosis University. 18 Overseas students from South Africa participated in this programme.

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