Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – History, logo, Bhawan and many more 

Priyanshi Pareek

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, also known as Overseas Indian Day, has been observed since 2003 on 9 January by the Republic of India. This day serves as a tribute to the invaluable contributions of the Overseas Indian community towards India’s development. It commemorates the historic return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January 1915.

This year Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is set to be celebrated on January 9. This flagship event is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and is hosted in different cities, showcasing the diversity and progress of various regions of India.

Sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, as well as supported by organisations like the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industries, and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, this celebratory event was established in 2000. Held biennially from the 8th to the 10th of January in a chosen city in India, it serves as a forum addressing issues relevant to the Indian Diaspora. Additionally, during this event, the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards are bestowed upon deserving individuals.


The decision to establish Pravasi Bharatiya Divas arose from recommendations by the High-Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora, chaired by L. M. Singhvi was appointed by the Indian government. At a public function on 8 January 2002 in New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan, Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee received the committee’s report and announced the inaugural “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas” (PBD) for 9 January 2002, honouring Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to India in 1915.

This annual event, sponsored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), acknowledges the exceptional contributions of NRI/PIO individuals. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (NRI/PIO Award) celebrates those who excel in their fields. It also serves as a crucial platform for discussing the concerns and issues faced by the diaspora community. Since its inception in 2003, the event continues to be organized every year.

Sushma Swaraj Bhawan (Previously known as Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra)

In January 2002, the High-Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, led by Shri L. M. Singhvi, suggested the government reinforce connections between overseas Indians and their roots, emphasising the need for stronger bonds within the diaspora and with India. Their proposal included establishing a Pravasi Bharatiya Bhavan, aimed at becoming a hub for networking between India and its global Indian community. This centre would commemorate the diaspora’s journey, challenges, evolution, and accomplishments.

In line with this recommendation, during the second Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in January 2004, then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the government’s decision to establish the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi, reflecting a commitment to create a centre facilitating connections and commemorating the diaspora’s history and achievements.

During the second Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in January 2004, Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced plans for the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra in New Delhi. The foundation stone was laid by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in January 2011, followed by groundbreaking in April 2011 and construction starting in April 2013. The National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) was awarded the contract for construction. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kendra on Gandhi Jayanti, dedicating it to serve the welfare and support of the Indian Diaspora.


In 2016, when the decision was made to hold the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention biannually, the Ministry of External Affairs sought a new logo for the event. Through the MyGov portal, a crowdsourcing initiative was launched for an open competition. The winning design by Debasish Sarkar was announced and awarded during a Joint Press Conference by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Karnataka Government. This new logo was introduced during the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

The philosophy behind the logo, as explained by its creator, centred on the symbolism of a human chain representing unity and strength worldwide. It featured the ‘Ashoka Chakra’ along with the tricolour canopy, symbolising the global contributions towards humanity’s development, while reflecting the peaceful presence of ‘Bharatiya’ and ‘Pravasi Bharatiya’ across the globe.

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