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Vice Prez confers Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards on 15 overseas Indians

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Gandhinagar (Jan. 09, 2015): The Vice President of India, Mr. M Hamid Ansari, today felicitated 15 overseas Indian with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards at the Valedictory Session at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ansari said, "This year is a special one. It coincides with the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi's return to India from South Africa, following which he took on the mantle of leadership of perhaps greatest non-violent struggle for independence against the colonial yoke. Gandhi ji was also, unquestionably, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya of all."

He said, "Relationships, even emotional ones, are not a one-way street. The Overseas Indians have expectations aimed at facilitating and intensifying their involvement with India. The Government of India, and the State Governments, have acknowledged the validity of these sentiments and taken or initiated steps to attract, assist and promote a deeper and multifaceted relationship, which is mutually beneficial and long lasting. We in India attach highest importance to issues of interest and concern to the overseas Indians."

The Vice President stated, "India today is on the cusp of change, in the process of actualizing the expectations of its vast population for a better life. India aspires for a better place in the comity of nations. Both of these require rapid economic development, accompanied by better educational, health and social parameters. This requires a massive collective effort by all segments of our population. The governments at central and state levels need to provide visionary leadership and are determined to do so."

Mr. Ansari added, "In this endeavor, an important role can be and must be played by the Overseas Indians. They have knowledge and resources to reinforce the effort in niche areas; they also have the experience of other lands where similar efforts were pursued successfully. We welcome such initiatives, which will replicate these valuable experiences here and save us from reinventing the wheel."