Vipul, the Consul General of India in Dubai, with the young achiever award winners at Indian Consulate on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Eight needy students were among hundreds who benefited from two community outreach programmes of the Indian Consulate launched last year, the Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul said on Wednesday.

The monthly Open House programme, where the Consul General and senior diplomats address grievances of Indians on the last Friday of every month, and the community volunteers committees that help resolve various issues of Indians in distress have proved to be a success, he said.

Vipul was speaking at a function held to celebrate the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, (PBD) the annual NRI Day, which was attended by around 200 members of the Indian community.

He said about 800 queries were addressed during the 12 Open Houses held last year and many Indians in distress were helped by nine committees of the community volunteers.

“There were eight cases of students where schools were approached to waive off fees of children from families facing financial crisis.”

Through committees, some Indian community members also helped in paying pending fees of students of families in financial crisis.

“These are people who cannot be aided through the Indian Community Welfare Fund. Community members should help such people to contact the mission with proper documents,” Anish Choudhury, senior manager of the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK-earlier known as Indian Workers’ Resource Centre) told Gulf News on the sidelines of the event.

The missions’ outreach programmes were announced at last year’s PBD celebrations.

Since 2003, India observes January 9 as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to celebrate the Indian diaspora across the world. The day commemorates the return of India’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915.

PBD Convention

The Dubai event was held to mark the day. However, the PBD convention, a three-day summit of the Indian diaspora now being organised every two years, will be held from January 21-23 this year.

Under the theme “Role of Indian diaspora in building new India,” the 15th PBD convention will be held in Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities in the world situated in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The dates have been changed so that the Indian diaspora will have the option to participate in Kumbh Mela, the largest religious congregation of Hindu believers, and also the grand Indian Republic Day parade that takes place in New Delhi on January 26.

A documentary showing preparations and arrangements for the PBD was screened at the event.

Vipul said a delegation of almost 300 Indian expats from the UAE is expected to attend the PBD convention.

He also honoured Emirati singer Yasser Habib, who rendered Gandhi’s favourite devotional song Vaishnava Jana To as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Gandhi.

Prominent members of the Indian community also spoke on the occasion.

Young NRI achievers honoured

The Indian Consulate also honoured young achievers among the community members at the function.

The following are the outstanding NRI children and winners of the Know India-Bharat Ko Janiye (BKJ) quiz competition held as part of the PBD, who were felicitated by the Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul.

Pulkit Chopra: A determined child with cerebral palsy who scored 83% aggregate in CBSE grade 10 exams.

Aadithyan Rajesh: A 13-year-old tech wizard who has developed a mobile application and owns his own software company.

Tanisha Crasto: A rising badminton star who has won several national and international tournaments and become a brand ambassador of Adidas.

Arisma Arora: Topper of ICSC grade 10 in Dubai.

Kevin Thomas Plamootil: Topper of CBSE grade 10 in UAE.

Abhiraj Gupta: One of the 40 finalists of the Arab Reading Challenge

Rahul Anand, Nitin Mittal, Shri Ram Sambaraju: BKJ Quiz winners