First Batch of NRI Youth from UK to Visit Punjab Under Govt Scheme

The “Connect with your Roots” scheme was launched by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in the United Kingdom last year to familiarize Indian-origin youth with the state.


The Punjab government’s “Connect with your Roots” (CYR) program is set to welcome its first batch of Indian-origin youth to the state in August. A group of 10 NRI boys and girls from the United Kingdom would visit Punjab from August 6 to 17, PTI reported.

The “Connect with your Roots” scheme was launched by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in the United Kingdom last year with an aim to familiarize the youth in the Indian diaspora community with the culture and heritage of the land of their ancestors.

The youngsters scheduled to visit the state next month are aged between 16 and 22 years, Principal Secretary (NRI Affairs) SR Ladhar said in a statement. Those visiting Punjab for the first time would be given the preference for the visit but those who have visited the country earlier may also apply, he added.

During the Punjab tour, the participants would be taken to places such as Sri Harmandir Sahib, Jallianwala Bagh, Wagah Border and the War Memorial at Amritsar; Jang-e-Azadi Memorial at Kartarpur (Jalandhar); Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Memorial in Banga, Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib; and Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh. They will also get to stay in their ancestral village for a day or two, the report cited Ladhar as saying.

The visiting youth would also attend the Independence Day celebrations at a district headquarter.

The group would be entertained with traditional Punjabi cuisine, he said, adding that they may also be taken to the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Bhakra Dam, Nangal; and a few industrial hubs in the state.

The cost of boarding and lodging of the participants under the scheme would be borne by the state government.

The government has appointed United Kingdom-based NRI Varinder Singh Khera as the local coordinator for the CYR scheme, the report added.

The CYR program was earlier reported to have received a lukewarm response. Only one application from the United Kingdom had been registered on the online portal of the scheme by March this year.

Targeted mainly at the third or fourth generation immigrants, the initiative was meant to involve organization of two-week tours in Punjab for groups of 15 students every other month.

“It is our desire through this initiative that the generation of youngsters who have only heard stories about Punjab or seen it on television get to really know Punjab and what we call Punjabiyat,” Singh had said at the launch event held at the Indian High Commission in London in September 2017.

The Punjab government’s scheme is on the lines of the Know India Programme (KIP), an initiative for diaspora engagement organized by the Ministry of External Affairs. The program aims to familiarize Indian-origin youth, in the age group of 18-30 years, with their Indian roots and contemporary India. Since 2016, six KIPs are being organised in a year, according to a statement from the ministry.

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