As Bengaluru gets set to host Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 , one person and his team of officers have been busy ensuring that the event goes on fine without any hurdles . “Every delegate and guest must go back with positive memories of Bengaluru” is  the repeat prompting that R V Deshpande , Industries Minister government of Karnataka can be seen telling to all his team members.

Be it early morning venue inspections or personally conducting survey of the roads leading to the venue he supervises it all. Sunday Guardian’s Vijay Grover spoke to him during one such inspection Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 Venue the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC)  

Q : Seeing the level of interest you are taking in making arrangements , how significant is the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to you and Karnataka government ?

A: Bengaluru is the most popular international city that every Indian is proud of . The delegates from over 60 countries are coming with a lot of hope and expectation. Many of them are first time visitors. While we are proud to host the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas we are looking at as opportunity to showcase the state multilaterally to them. Be it either as a tourism destination  a city which offers tremendous Investment potential . The PBD 2017 will offer something for everyone who is coming here. The event has a great heritage and we are proud that an event which was started in 2003 is finally being hosted by us.

Q : What makes this Pravasi Bharatiya Divas different from the earlier ones.

A:  The focus theme this year for the Pravasi Bharaiya Divas is “ Redining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora”. When we signed the agreement with the Centre in August 2016 , we wanted to showcase not just Karnataka but entre India to the world. With over 3900 delegates from 61 countries expected we have tried to ensure that as co-hosts we put our best foot forward. With Seven chief ministers apart from the Prime minister and the Honorable President having confirmed we will be able to do some meaningful interactions in the sessions that have been proposed in the two days.

Q : You have been tremendously busy with arrangements for this event. What have been the challenges ?

A: An event of this scale , where nearly 4000 delegates from 61 countries will be attending apart from the long list of dignitaries starting with the President Of India , Honb’le Prime Minister and 9 chief ministers including our own chief minister requires detailed planning. Several prominent NRI’s and PIO’s shall be also here. We in Karnataka have ensured that the Ministry Of External Affairs and our officers work closely. I appreciate that Shri M J Akbar , MoS External Affairs and General V K Singh have coordinated very well with our teams.

A cultural event  during the inauguration of  the Bharatiya Pravasi Divas at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre on Saturday. Photo: IANS

Q: Your Ministry is setting up an opportunity for the delegates and NRI’s to invest in Karnataka . How do yuu see this opportunity ?

A: Karnataka is a key state as far as the Indian Diaspora looks up to for investing monies. We have tried to ensure that being the startup capital we showcase our capabilities . :Fuelling growth through Interaction” is a session that has been proposed to educate the delegates about the resources and opportunities. Invest Karnataka shall be an ideal platform for us to be able to convert the interest into investment opportunity. We have organized an industrial exhibition at the venue to show our Innovations , Rand D capabilities and Technical Developments of the state.

Q: There are bound to be curious potential investors who will want to get more information about the state. What kind of facilitation arrangements have been made ?

A : Going by our experience with the NRI communities , we want to offer them complete support if they have interest in any sector . The team of senior Officials from the Industries department is available at the venue at the Invest Karnataka pavilion . Beyond that for the delegates we have arranged special Industrial visits  and exploration trips to get a first- hand experience of  progress mad by the state. In my ministry the officials will be able to share information , clarify doubts and also resolve any kind of queries that exist to facilitate a potential investor .

Q : We believe you are also taking personal interest in showcasing Bengaluru City , its culture and the food to the delegates. What have you planned ?

A: A tourist or a delegate is very experimental in nature. Whenever they visit a new city they like to explore everything about it. In association with the other ministries I have been proposing and planning to make some special arrangements for cultural performances , traditional Karnataka cuisine will be part of  the menu during the dinners being hosted by the chief minister of Karnataka. We have also made exclusive arrangement for sightseeing to the various tourist spots to make Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 a very memorable one.

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