Pravasi Bharatiya Divas | NRI Day

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas | NRI Day
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (प्रवासी भारतीय दिवस) also known as Non-Resident Indian Day (NRI) Day is celebrated on 9 January every year by the Indian Government to mark the contribution of the Overseas Indian community in the development of India.

The day was chosen to be celebrated as NRI day as on this day in 1915 the greatest Pravasi Mahatma Gandhi, returned to India from South Africa to led India’s freedom struggle. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas not only helps in networking and building partnerships but also promotes various initiatives related to trade, investment, education, culture, health, emigration, developments, and science.

Who started Pravasi Bharatiya Divas?

After receiving a recommendation from L. M. Singhvi the chairman of HLC at a public function, former prime minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee made an announcement that every 9th January Pravasi Bharatiya Divas would be commemorated. This was in 2002 at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was celebrated annually from 2003 till 2015. In 2016, the Ministry of External Affairs decided to celebrate the event every two years. Last Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was celebrated in 2019 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh with the theme “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India.”  The theme of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas  (PBD) 2021 was “Contributing to Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. In 2022 Youth PBD Conference is held on the theme “Role of Diaspora Youth in Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav- Innovation and New Technologies.”

Interesting facts about Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) or NRI Day

  • PBD is celebrated since 2003 by the Union Government with a specific theme.

  • Since 2015 the event is not annual but biennial.

  • The main aim of the PBD celebration is to connect the Indian Diaspora.

  • PBD is celebrated as the commemoration of the return of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • The chief host of PBD is usually a foreigner.

  • New Delhi has held the most Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, since its inception in 2003 Delhi has held 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2014 PBD conventions.

  • Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is organized outside India to give Diaspora Indians who cannot travel to India for the main event. So far, eight Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas have been held in New York, Singapore, The Hague, Durban, Toronto, Mauritius, and Sydney.

  • Indian nationals residing abroad use the platform to interact with their government and the rest of the population and have played a huge role in the development of India.

  • 2015 marked 100 years (a century) of the return of Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1915 to lead the nation’s freedom struggle so the event was a very symbolic one.

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is the highest honor that is given to an overseas Indian and is always given to deserving Indians. It is conferred to overseas Indians or Non-Resident Indians (NRI) or Persons of Indian Origin (PIO).

This award carries a bilingual Sanad under the hand and the seal of the President. In addition, it includes a citation, a gold medallion, and a miniature of the medallion in the form of a lapel pin.

Award criteria

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is conferred for outstanding contributions in any of the following areas:

  • “Better understanding of India”

  • “Support for India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way”

  • “Building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence;”

  • “Social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad”

  • “Welfare of the local Indian community”

  • “Philanthropic and charitable work”

  • “Eminence in one’s field or outstanding work, which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence; or”

  • “Eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers)

Recipients of awards are:

  • Satyanarayan Nadella– CEO of tech giant Microsoft.

  • Donald Rabindernauth Ramaotar– He is President of Guyana and awarded for his work for the Indian diaspora in Guyana.

  • Mala Mehta– For her contribution to the Hindi language. She is the founder of Indo- Australian Bal Bharatiya Vidyalaya in Thornleigh suburb in Sydney. Since its establishment, she has been pursuing the growth of Hindi in Australia.

  • Rajaram Sanjaya– He is an India-born Mexican scientist. He is the winner of the ‘2014 World Food Prize’ for developing 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries.

  • Kanwaljit Singh Bakhshi– He is a Member of Parliament (MP) from New Zealand. He is also known for the work he had done for the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.

  • Essop Goolam Pahad– He is a South African politician. He was Minister in the Presidency from 1999 to September 2008 in South Africa.

  • Mahendra Nanji Mehta– Uganda-based businessman of Indian origin.

  • Professor Nathuram Poori– He is the founder of Purico Group and is also chosen for their contribution to the Indian diaspora.

  • Lord Raj Lumba– He is a philanthropist and founder of the clothing company Rinku Group. He is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom.

  • Kamlesh Lulla– He is a chief scientist for Earth observation in the Human Exploration Science Office at the Johnson Space Centre at NASA. He was named for the award for his exceptional service to space science.

  • Nandini Tandon– She has been given this award for her work in life sciences and Healthcare and IT in the USA and India along with other emerging markets.

  • Rajmal Parakh

  • Duraikannu Karunakaran

  • Shah Bharatkumar Jayantilal

  • Ashraf Palarkunnummal

Know more about Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at

Suggested Read: Important Days In January

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.