Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Minister for the Diaspora KC Joseph on Friday informed the Kerala Assembly that the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will have a special session to discuss issues concerning people from the state.
"The PBD is being held at Kochi from January 7-9. The first day will see an exclusive Kerala session, in which Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will participate," Joseph said.
Joseph spoke in response to a calling attention moved by CPI-M legislator KV Abdul Khader.
"Normally the PBD sees the participation of the cash rich diaspora. With Kerala having more than four million non-resident Keralites, it is only natural that the Kerala diaspora gets a chance to attend the meet and raise genuine needs. The delegate fee for the Kerala session is Rs 1,000," Khader said.
This is the first time that the PBD is being held in the state. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate this annual flagship event January 8. President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver the valedictory address on January 9 and also confer the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards.
"We consider the Kerala diaspora to be the backbone of the Kerala economy for a few decades now and the latest statistics reveal that this year alone they have brought in Rs 55,000 crore to the Kerala banks. We have the highest regard for the diaspora," Joseph said.
He also pointed out that there are several long standing demands of the Kerala diaspora which, include avoidance of "fleecing" by Air India, a request for posting Malayalee officials in the Middle East embassies, and providing support in handling legal issues faced by the Kerala diaspora in the Middle East.