1. Origin of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas
  2. Essay Fodder for Indian Diaspora/NRI topics
  3. Diaspora issues
    1. #1: Merger of OCI, PIO
    2. #2: Benefits of OCI card
    3. #3: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2014
    4. #4: Visa on Arrival & E-Visa
  4. Appendix1: PBD-Coins and Stamps
  5. Appendix2: Who got PBD-2015 award and why?
  6. Mock Questions

Origin of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas

  • 1915, 9th January: Gandhi returned from S.Africa to India
  • From 2003 onwards, Pravasi Bharatiya divas (PBD) is celebrated annually on this date.
  • Ministry of Overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) organizes PBD.
  • PBD marks the contribution of Overseas Indians in India’s Development. It also provides an interaction platform for them to raise issues with Indian Government.
Location and Themes?
13th PBD 2015 12th PBD 2014
  • Gandhinagar, Gujarat. First time held here.
  • from 7th to 9th January.
  • Youth Pravasi Bharatiya divas: 7th Jan
  • (Mains) Pravasi Bharaity a divas: 9th.
  • Principle sponsor: Bank of India- “Relationships Beyond Banking”
  • Youth PBD: Bharat ko Jaano, Bharat ko Maano.
  • (Main) PBD: 100 years of Gandhi’s return from South Africa
Engaging diaspora: connecting across generations
Chief guest
  • Donald Ramotar, the president of Guyana
  • Capital: Georgetown
  • Country located in North-Eastern corner of South American continent.
Y B Datuk seri PalanivelMalaysia’s environment minister.

Essay Fodder for Indian Diaspora/NRI topics

Based on the speeches of President, PM, Ministers and eminent persons during PBD-2015

  • In Ancient Greek, “Diaspora” means “Scattering or sowing of seeds”.
  • ~2.5 crore NRIs/PIOs are spread across 200 countries around the world.
  • They send over 70 billion$ as remittances to home- highest among all countries (2014, World Bank data).
  • NRIs have spread Indian culture, cuisine and values abroad, send truckload of remittances back to India.
  • By reaching out to NRIs, we can make global impact- by leveraging their knowledge, expertise or skills.
  • Earlier they went abroad in search of opportunity, knowledge and exposure, but now they an get the same even in India.
  • Earlier they had to wait for months to know what’s happening back home, but now thanks to ICT & Media, they can monitor India’s social, economic and political events on daily basis.
  • Ganga provides economic opportunities to 40% of India’s population. We invite NRIs to Namami Gange project to clean this river.
  • Even if a single Indian is present in a foreign country – India is alive through him.
  • Mauritius celebrates Gandhi’s birthday (2nd October) is more vigour than India.
  • In this era of globalization, the challenge is to find a healthy balance between sense of identity, home and community- and doing the necessary things to survive within globalization system (Thomas Friedman).
Youth Diaspora should do three “C”s
Connect With new generation, overcome the caste and class boundaries
Celebrate India’s heritage. After all, we contributed

  1. Zero and decimal system
  2. Pi (Budhayana, 6th Cent.)
  3. first University of world (Takshila, 700BC)
  4. Ayurveda (Charak, 2500 years ago)
  5. Non-violance, unity in diversity
  6. ISRO’s Mangalyan got “best invention of 2014” award from TIME magazine.
Contribute To swachh Bharat, Make in India, digital India, smart cities, Namami Gange and so on.

Diaspora issues

#1: Merger of OCI, PIO

Detailed table given in M.Laxmikanth’s Polity book-chapter on citizenship page 6.5 onwards. Following, is just an overview:

OCI PIO (Person of Indian Origin)
If you or your parents were Indian citizen once upon a time. If your parents, grandparents or spouse were Indian citizen once upon a time.
Lifelong visa-travel. Card Valid only for 15 years. (Modi ordinance: this visa given for life-time.)
No need to register at any office. Doesn’t matter how long you want to stay in India. If staying beyond 180 days (6 months) in a single visit, you’ve to register Foreigners Regional Registration or Police station. (Modi ordinance: they don’t need to visit police, even if staying for long term.)

#2: Benefits of OCI card

OCI Card Benefits

What are the benefits of an overseas citizenship of India (OCI)?
Can do Can’t do
  1. A multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa for visiting India.
  2. Doesn’t matter how many days/weeks/months you want to stay in India- you don’t need to register with local police.
  • Can’t vote
  • Can’t compete for parliament, Vidhan sabha elections
  • Can’t normally get sarkaari-naukari.
  • Can’t hold Constitutional posts- President, VP, SC-HC judge etc.
OCI cardholder gets all benefits given to an NRI in economic-financial-educational fields. BUT he can’t buy agricultural land or plantation.
OCI card can be used as an ‘id-proof’ for getting

  • Driving license
  • Pan card
  • Bank account opening.
Pakistani or Bangladeshi can’t get OCI card.

#3: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2014

Original Citizenship act was made in 1955, but had some lacunas. So, Home Ministry drafted this bill to fix it.

1955 Act 2014 Bill
  • If a person OR his parent were Indian citizens previously then he can apply for Indian citizenship…provided that he stayed in India for 1 year.
  • But he can’t leave India for even a single day during that 1 year period.
  • He can leave India for a total of 30 days.
  • And still, if union Government is satisfied he can get citizenship.
Defined the “overseas citizen of India” Expanded that definition to include

  • Minor child of Indian citizen.
  • Spouse of Indian citizen
  • Spouse of OCI/PIO cardholder.
  • Great grandchildren of a person who was Indian citizen at / after commencement of Indian Constitution.
  • Separate provisions of OCI and PIOs.
  • PIO card holders get less benefits than an OCI card holder.
Merged them.
No such provision Government can cancel the OCI-citizenship of the spouse of an OCI citizen IF

  • Court dissolved their marriage
  • Spouse married another party without divorcing from first marriage.
  • 2014, December: Bill presented in Winter session of parliament, but could not be passed due to frequent disruptions.
  • 2015, Jan: Modi got is implemented it through Presidential ordinance.

#4: Visa on Arrival & E-Visa

  • Under Home ministry, this Scheme began in 2010, reformed in 2014.
  • Visa on Arrival: Foreigner has to apply online (3 days before arriving to India)
  • When he reaches India, pays $60 fees, goes through biometric identification and gets the (Tourist) Visa.
  • Validity: 30 days, Cannot be renewed. He must leave after that.
  • Electronic Travel authorization (e-Visa): announced in Budget 2014, foreigner applies online, gets visa in 5 days.
  • During PBD-2015, Modi announced he has given these two facilities for 43 countries.
  • Although, India is not the first country in world to run such scheme. Japan, Finland, Singapore et al already offer such facility.

Appendix1: PBD-Coins and Stamps

  • 1915: Gandhi returns from S.Africa to India, after 21 years.
  • 2015: marks 100 years of his return.
  • Therefore, Modi released commemorative coins (Rs.10 and Rs.100) and Stamps (Rs.5 and Rs.25)

Appendix2: Who got PBD-2015 award and why?

15 persons received Pravasi Bharatiya Samman-2015.

More important for PIN-MCQs
Name of the person country contribution
Donald Ramaotar Guyana President of Guyana
Dr. Rajaram Sanjaya Mexico Winner of ‘2014 world food prize’ – developed 480 wheat varieties
Kanwaljitsingh Bakshi New Zealand MP of New Zealand parliament
Duraikannu Karunakaran Seychelles Justice of supreme court of Seychelles
Satya Nadella USA CEO, Microsoft. Hails from Andhra Pradesh, his father was an IAS.


Less important for MCQs
Name of the person country contribution
Mala Mehta Australia Indo-Australian bal bharatiya vidhyalaya (promotion of Hindi language)
Essop Goolam Pahad South Africa politician
Ashraf Palarkannumal UAE Social activist
Mahendra nanji mehta Yuganda Businessman
Prof. Nathuram Puri Founder of Purico group
Dr. Nandini Tondon USA Health care and IT
Dr. Kamlesh Lulla USA Chief scientist for earth observation at NASA
Raj Loomba UK Philanthropist – member of House of Lords, UK
Rajmal Parakh Oman
Bharatkumar Shah UAE

Mock Questions

Q1. Find correct statement

  1. Pravasi bharatiya divas (PBD) is organized by Ministry of External affairs
  2. PBD is observed on 9th January because it is on this day Gandhi return to India in 1919.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q2. What was the theme of Pravasi bharatiya divas 2015?

  1. 100 years of Gandhi’s departure to South Africa
  2. 100 years of Gandhi’s return from South Africa
  3. 100 years of Gandhi’s service to South Africa
  4. None of above

Q3. Find correct statement

  1. The chief guest of PBD-2015 was Donald Ramotar
  2. Donald Ramotar is the President of Guyana.
  3. Guyana is a landlocked country of South America

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q4. Person holding an overseas citizenship of India (OCI) can

  1. Contest in Vidhan Sabha elections.
  2. Buy agricultural land
  3. Get admission in NRI-quota seat in an Indian university.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q5. What is the purpose of Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015?

  1. Provide for electronic-visa facility
  2. Provide for visa on arrival facility.
  3. Permit Overseas Indians to contest in Local assembly elections.
  4. None of above.

Q6. Who among the following, is not a reciepient of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman 2015?

  1. Kanwaljitsingh Bakshi
  2. Duraikannu Karunakaran
  3. Satya Nadella
  4. Tulsi Gabbard

Q7. Find incorrect statement(s)

  1. PIO card entitles a person lifelong visa-free entry in India
  2. If an OCI-card holder stays in India beyond 6 months, he is required to get registered at local police station.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Mains General Studies Paper 2

Answer following in 150-200 words each

  1. Discuss the issues in Citizenship Act 1955 pertaining to Overseas Indians. How does Citizenship (Amendment) ordinance address them?
  2. Discuss the rationale behind merger of OCI and PIO cards, and critically examine its impact on Indian economy.
  3. Point out the difference between the Jewish Diaspora and the Indian Diaspora. (Mains-2004)
  4. What are the references made to the NRI in the Union Budget 2015? (Similar question from 2004 budget, asked in UPSC-2004.)
  5. Answer following in 50 words each: (UPSC-2008)
    1. Pravasi Bharatiya divas
    2. Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme
    3. Indian Diaspora and Bollywood.

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