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Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Divas awards announced

By Amit Baruah

NEW DELHI, JAN. 4. Golfer Vijay Singh, academics Sunil Khilnani and Jagdish Bhagwati, novelist Vikram Seth, technologist Sam Pitroda and political activists Ahmed Kathrada, Amina Cachalia (South Africa) and Basdeo Panday (Trinidad and Tobago) are among the 15 overseas Indians given the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2005.

The other awardees are: M. Arunachalam (business, Hong Kong), Sir (Dr.) J.K. Chande (public affairs, Tanzania), Alokeranjan Dasgupta (literature, Germany), Lord Bhikhu Parekh (political studies, Britain), Manoj Night Shyamalan (cinema, U.S.), Dr. Sant Singh Virmani (agricultural science, the Philippines) and Yusuffali (business, United Arab Emirates).

The jury that selected the names was chaired by the Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and comprised, among others, the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Jagdish Tytler, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, T.K.A. Nair, the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, and the former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, G.S. Randhawa.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Mumbai from January 7-9, Mr. Tytler said there would be no celebrations in connection with the event.

In the wake of the tsunami disaster, a special plenary session on "Disaster management reconstruction and rehabilitation: Role of overseas Indians" would be held as part of the Divas events.

As many as 1,400 overseas Indians from 60 countries had so far registered themselves for the Divas against 800 last year, Mr. Tytler said. A large number of participants had already arrived.

Dual nationality

About the extension of dual nationality, he said the process of registration had started in 16 countries. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, had given his assent to the dual nationality law passed by Parliament.

In response to a question, Mr. Tytler said the Government had to take a view on whether the annual conference related to the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas would be held annually or once in two years.

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