Updated on: Apr 29th, 2022
5 min read
The Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana was introduced in FY 2018-19 for the elderly generation of Person of Indian Origins (PIOs) aged between 45 to 65 years from the Girmitiya countries. The Girmitiya countries are Guyana, Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago reunion island. This scheme provides an opportunity for the PIOs to reconnect with their Indian roots through a government-sponsored pilgrimage tour across India.
The purpose of the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana is to bring Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to India and make them familiar with the history and culture of this land. This scheme is for individuals born in India but who live abroad and are not familiar with the religion and culture of their country due to many reasons. Through this scheme, Indian expatriate citizens can visit religious places in India.
The Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana is targeted primarily at PIOs in Girmitiya countries who belong to lower-income groups and cannot afford to visit India. It is a 17 days programme conducted in coordination with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC). So far, four editions of the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana have been undertaken with the participation of 160 PIOs, with 40 people in each group.
Girmitiyas are the descendants of Indian labourers brought to Mauritius, Fiji, East Africa, South Africa, the Caribbean, the Malay Peninsula, and South America (Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana) to work in sugarcane plantations for the prosperity of the European settlers.
The term ‘Girmitiya’ was coined by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, who referred to himself as the first Girmitiya. The countries where these Indian labourers settled are known as the Girmitiya countries.