Chennai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday announced that Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders who are qualified professionals will be allowed to practise in India.
Inaugurating the seventh Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Chennai, the Prime Minister said the government has launched a comprehensive e-governance project on migration. Under this project, every worker would be issued a ‘Smart Card’ that will contain the details of the worker, like his work contract, his employer etc. “The objective of the project will be to transform the emigration process into a simple, transparent, orderly and humane one,” he said.
The Prime Minister launched the interactive web portal — the Global India Knowledge Network — to connect people of Indian origin from a variety of disciplines to users at national, state and local levels in India. “Our hope is that the Network will facilitate transfer of knowledge and serve as a virtual think tank to generate ideas on issues such as development, education and healthcare,” he said.
The Prime Minister thanked overseas Indians for the role they had played in alleviating India’s nuclear isolation. He said this is a sign of the growing role the Indian origin communities are playing in public policy and opinion making across the globe.
The Prime Minister said that he had seen the contribution of the Indian workers in the Gulf when he visited the Oman and Qatar. “I was amazed to see their grit and determination, and how they are contributing to wealth creation in these countries.”
He said India is concerned about the tension in the Middle East as a result of the attack in Gaza, “that has led to the needless loss of many innocent men, women and children.” He said India had condemned the attack on Gaza and hoped international community would get together and help restore peace in the region as soon as possible.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, said: “The focus of the PBD this year is to raise the level of discourse across the economic, social, and cultural space.”
In his address, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi, thanked the Prime Minister and the Overseas Affairs Minister for choosing Chennai as the venue for this year’s PBD meet.
“Tamil Nadu will be the top state to lead the country in economic recovery,” he added.
The Chief Guest of the PBD 2009 meet, Ramdien Sardjoe, Vice-President of Suriname, said: “ India and Suriname have close ties in the areas of healthcare, energy, agriculture, banking, ICT, education and culture.”
“We will back India in any global forum in its activities against terror and also support the country for a permanent seat in the United Nations,” Sardjoe added.
In his welcome address, K Mohandas, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, said that 1,500 delegates from across 50 countries are taking part in the global meet.
The External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, also took part in the meet.
The Chennai Trade Centre — venue of the seventh Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet- was virtually a fortress following an e-mail threat sent by the terror outfit, Deccan Mujahideen.