If you go by the opinions of a section of overseas Indians, and, of course, the Media, then it is easy to run down a big event such as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD). The last one, the 10th edition, concluded in Jaipur on January 9, and not everyone was convinced that shifting the venue out of Delhi was a great idea. Even within the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) there is a feeling that it becomes a logistical nightmare to organize an event that involves the presence of the Indian Prime Minister and President, the associated security drill, several state chief ministers and ministers, and overseas Indians themselves who find the task of reconnecting, booking accommodation and moving around in a second city in India (after landing in Delhi) for a conference an arduous affair. “Delhi is best connected from all over the world, and it is the wider interest to host the event in this city,” an NRI said, echoing the views of many others.
But that is not the only reason why holding a PBD outside Delhi can backfire. In 2006, at Hyderabad where the event was outsourced to a fly-by-night event management company, things had gone horribly wrong. The company had hardly any representatives to escort the large number of NRI arrivals, and logistically were found short. Sometimes coordination with the state Government can be a tad difficult. A journalist from California was all messed up at the Media registration desk. He had sent his papers to the MOIA well on time, and the MOIA had sent them across to the state Government of Rajasthan which was in charge of media registration. “They say my name is not there in any computer. This is a bit embarrassing to have to run around for my registration badge,” this PIO journalist said. His wasn’t the only case. On earlier occasions (for 9 years prior to this), the Central Government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) has been handling the Media registration and had been doing a smooth job. All media personnel interested in covering the PBD had to register online, and then informed whether their candidature had been accepted or not. The system was well handled, unlike the one at Jaipur in 2012.