▪ On February 21st, during an International Mother Language Day event, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, launched a new portal named Apon Bangla. The portal is designed to connect with the Bengali diaspora residing across the world.
▪ Every year on February 21st, the world commemorates International Mother Language Day to raise awareness about the significance of linguistic and cultural diversity. This year, UNESCO’s emphasis is on tackling the “global learning crisis” by urging nations to guarantee that children receive education in their mother tongue.
What is Apon Bangla?
▪ Apon Bangla is a unique initiative of the Government of West Bengal to connect and cater to the interests and welfare of the Non-resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) of West Bengal origin.
▪ Apon Bangla initiative will be available through an online platform www.aponbangla.wb.gov.in
Main features of the initiative
▪ Provision of a unique AponBangla card for the NRIs/POIs/OCIs of WB origin
▪ A platform for the redressal of their grievances
▪ A platform for expressing their feedback/ suggestions to the Govt.
▪ Access to various Govt services through the probasi BSK link
▪ Alumni Connect – to connect with their School/ Colleges
▪ Access to events/news from Bengal in the form of a News Letter
▪ Option for donations/contributions to CMRF and NRI Contribution Fund etc.
▪ Guidance/Facilitation for Investing in West Bengal
▪ Updates/ chance to participate in major events like BGBS, Kolkata Film Festival, Kolkata Book Fair, Pujo Carnival, etc.
▪ A separate NRI Cell is being set up under the Home Department for regular follow-up and monitoring of the initiative
How does it work?
▪ The website, www.aponbangla.wb.gov.in, is an initiative aimed at providing services to Non-Resident Bengalis (NRBs).
▪ Through this website, NRBs can obtain an ‘Apon Bangla’ card by submitting their personal information such as name, photograph, signature, passport details, mobile number, email ID, and overseas and work address, along with their local contact number and address in Bengal.
▪ Additionally, the platform will offer a newsletter that provides updates and information about the state, facilitate donations to the ‘NRI Contribution Fund’, and provide guidance for investing in the state.
▪ The platform will also facilitate connections with different alumni associations in Bengal and offer guidance on investing in the state or donating to the CM’s relief fund.
▪ Through the Probasi Bangla Sahayak Kendra link, the Apon Bangla portal will enable NRBs to access various services.
▪ Furthermore, the website will provide updates about events taking place in Kolkata, such as the film festival, book fair, and Puja carnival.
Objectives of Apon Bangla Initiative
▪ According to the Apon Bangla portal, the Government of West Bengal recognizes that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) who originate from West Bengal often encounter difficulties in accessing various government services that may be necessary for themselves or their family members from time to time.
▪ This is due to the fact that they reside abroad or spend only a limited amount of time in India. As a result, they may encounter obstacles in accessing services or experience procedural delays that cause anxiety and hardship.
Significance of the Apon Bangla Initiative
▪ The Apon Bangla portal aims to be a comprehensive communication platform that allows all NRBs to seamlessly connect with and become an integral part of the West Bengal community, enabling their participation in the state’s development.
▪ The initiative also seeks to develop a database of individuals (of the specified categories) who originate from Bengal but are currently residing abroad.
▪ This database will aid the state government in engaging with registered members and providing assistance if they encounter any challenges while abroad and require support.
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