Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana for Indian diaspora to tour of religious places in India twice a year. The first batch of 40 Indian-origin peoples are at the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and from there they began their tour.
Features of Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana
- A group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year
- They will be taken to religious places of all major religions in India and the government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence.
- All people of Indian-origin aged 45 to 65 can apply and a group will be selected out of them with first preference given to people from ‘Girmitiya countries’ such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.
- The tour would be completely government sponsored
What are Girmitiya countries?
Girmitiya’s are the descendants of indentured Indian labourers brought to Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, East Africa, the Malay Peninsula, and Caribbean. They were hired to work on sugarcane plantations for the prosperity of the European settlers and save the Fijians from having to work on these plantations and thus to preserve their culture. Thus these countries are called Girmitiya countries and Indian-origin people from these countries are known as Girmitiya’s. The term Girmitiya was coined by Father of Nation ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, who referred to himself as first Girmitiya.
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