Ramesh Mathew / Doha Times
Doha, Jan 6: An Indian entrepreneur has said participants at the forthcoming seventh Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas gathering in Chennai should accord priority to such issues as rehabilitation measures for those returning to their homeland.
C K Menon a recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman of 2006, said that at a time when the GCC States were also feeling the pinch of the global economic slowdown, participants should focus on measures aimed at bringing relief to non-resident Indians affected by the economic recession than talking on issues such as identity cards for People of Indian Origins (PIO).
“Only the affluent NRIs residing away from the country for a considerable period, in particular in USA, and Europe stood to gain from such measures as the introduction of PIO cards,” said Menon. “Unless the participants take a realistic view of various issues and have a focus on the priorities to be debated, it is meaningless to attend the conference.”
While lauding the overseas Indian affairs ministry for giving an opportunity to NRIs and PIOs to meet and share their views on various issues concerning the Indian diaspora, Menon said the meeting this year assumes more significance in view of the economic turmoil. It has hit virtually every country.
The entrepreneur, who has been attending the Pravasi meet since 2002, however, is in two minds on his participation this time.
Spread over three days, the annual jamboree starts on January 7.
According to the programme schedule, Menon is to address a session on “Building bridges: diaspora's philanthropy/ charity” to be held on January 8. “I don't know, if I would be able to make it to the conference this time owing to some pre-occupation,” he said.
Other speakers for the session include Union minister for panchayati raj Mani Shankar Aiyer, secretary of overseas Indian affairs ministry K Mohandas, pro vice-chancellor of University of KwaZulu-Natal, (south Africa) Dasarath Chetty, former sprint queen P T Usha.
According to sources, Menon has been selected to the panel on account of his contributions to charitable causes.