Odia Diaspora in America to set up ICT enabled libraries in all the 30 districts of Odisha
Gone are the days when Indian leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru were appealing to the people of Indian origin living in the countries they had migrated to that they should be proud of their Indian heritage but must be loyal citizens of the countries they are settled in. Their advice was that apart from maintaining the emotional links, the Diaspora should not worry about India or involve themselves in India’s political and economic development.
However, things have changed over the years. Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly invites the Indian Diaspora, many amongst whom have made their respective countries proud and yet at the same time are in love with their Indian-origin. They consider India as their mother country and keen on getting actively involved in its resurgence as a global power that India was in the past. The Indian Prime Minister wants the Diaspora to invest in India and contribute in its economical and technological development.
Witnessing this change in the mindset of the Indian leadership, the Diaspora is also responding positively. Take, for instance, the case of Odia Diaspora. Prosperous among them are in significant numbers in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australasia, and all of them want to help Odisha in being a developed state of India.
They have formed Odisha Development Global Forum. Through a series of webinars in recent years, they are interacting with political, business and intellectual leaders, including the state and central ministers of Odisha from time to time and participating in developmental activities of the state through active collaborations.
December 20 witnessed one such collaborative webinar with Electronics and information Technology Minister of Odisha, Tusharkanti Behera., which resolved that all Gram Panchayats of Odisha will have broadband connectivity by 2021. Behera assured the Diaspora from the United States and Canada, particularly from California, Boston and Toronto, that the digital infrastructure at Panchayat level would be in place shortly.
This virtual meeting or the Webinar was organised by Odisha Society of Americas’ (OSA) library chapter Odisha Public Library Initiative (OPLI).
Appreciating the Library initiative initiated by OSA Guest Speaker Odisha Government’s Principal Secretary, Revenue, Disaster Management and Culture, Bishnupada Sethi, stressed the need of popularising the concept of Public Libraries. Delivering his speech, during the online Conclave renowned litterateur Prof. Damodar Acharya asserted that IIT Alumnis will extend all-out support to OSA and OPLI in sensitising school students to develop the habit of reading.
BDO of Nuagaon in Phulbani Manoj Tripathy, who was instrumental in establishing OSA’s Model Library at Sulipada in Mayurbhanj district and four other libraries under MGNREGAS scheme in Phulbani District, shared his pioneering experience about Library endeavour.
Additional Secretary of Government of Odisha in charge of MGNREGAS Dr. Manas Ranjan Debata lauded the effort of OSA in spreading Library culture in the nook and corner of the state. All 139 Panchayat level Libraries in Sambalpur District are going to be functional by 26th January 2021 under MGNREGAS Scheme, Shri Debata informed.
The Chief Organiser of the Summit and President of OSA Kuku Das proposed to set up at least one ICT enabled library in all 30 districts of Odisha with internet connectivity and suggested to put all libraries under one umbrella programme entitled “Mo Library” (My Library).
Conducting the proceedings of the Forum, Prof Chitta Baral invited Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s intervention and appealed him to attach high priority to the OSA’s agenda for Odisha’s growth.
Ace anchor Prashant Bhuyan co–ordinated the Library session. Galaxy of Dignitaries who attended the brainstorming internet Event include Former Director of NIIT Prof. Sunil Sarangi, Former DG Election Commission of India Prasanna Dash, Nalini Patnaik, Vivek Das, Sudhir Raut, Nishikant Sahoo, Dr. Basant Parida, Ajay Mohanty, Dr. Debendra Majhi, Anil Patnaik, Utkal Nayak, Kunna Dash, Arun Praharaj, Saswat Padhi, Susmita Rajhans and Dr. Sital Kumar.