My friend, the Honourable Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr Löfven,
All my enthusiastic friends of Indian Origin,
Hello to all my brothers and sisters,
I want to express my gratitude to the people and the government of Sweden, especially His Majesty the king of Sweden and Sweden's Prime Minister Mr Löfven for welcoming me and my delegation in Sweden.
Mr. Löfven's warm words in his address have touched my heart. Last night he had come to the Airport to receive and welcome me. He even dropped me at my hotel.
This gesture and honour is not only for me but also for you and the 125 crore Indians. With this feeling in mind, he had participated in the Make in India programme in 2016 and had also participated in a similar event organised in Sweden last year.
I thank him profusely for the love he has for India and the Indians living in Sweden.
I request you all to give a standing ovation to the Honourable Prime Minister of Sweden as a token of respect.
You have carved out a niche for yourselves here through innovative skills, professional attitude, cultural integration and Indian values. I would like to congratulate you for keeping alive the soul of India and Indian values even after living outside India.
You all speak different languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bangla or Marathi and so on. There are about 100 languages and 1700 dialects in India. If I start giving you the entire list, probably I won't be able to finish my speech until tomorrow morning.
Languages, conditions or circumstances could be different for everyone but one thing binds us all together and that is the pride of being an Indian.
This is the feeling that binds us together, inspires us to be with each other in difficult times and that gives us new energy and new resolutions.
This is the feeling that inspires all of us to stand up as a token of respect whenever we hear the words 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'!
This is the feeling that makes every Indian proud of the success achieved by Indians like Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal.
Today the country is going through a big phase of change. Today the government in India is going to greater extent to take India to New Heights in the 21st century for her welfare and self-respect. Four years ago the people of India had provided us with unprecedented mandate of 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'. During the last 4 years we have made every effort to build a developed India by our efforts towards building a 'New India' by the year 2022 when India will complete 75 years of independence. We have taken a vow of ' Sankalp se Sidhhi'.
At the same time we have enhanced the respect for Indianism and India's rich tradition globally. Our efforts and your cooperation in the areas of International Yoga Day, Ayurveda, the age-old vision of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and the balance between man and nature and so on have established India as a 'thought leader' on the Global platform.
Moreover, regions like Africa, Small island nations of the Pacific, ASEAN, Europe or Asia today consider India as a trusted partner and a trustworthy friend.
Humanity looks towards India during times of crisis, be it the earthquake of Nepal or the floods of Sri Lanka. During Yemen war, we had rescued not only 4000 Indians but also about 2000 foreigners.
In the last 4 years, we have taken several such steps that have increased the faith of the world in India.
A few days ago you may have seen that the International Solar Alliance Summit was organised in Delhi. In such a short span of time, more than 60 countries have joined this initiative spearheaded by India for a green earth.
India's membership in the three regimes, the Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement, is an indication of India's impact and her acceptance by the international community.
The world is appreciating our technological capabilities. India's space programme is one of the world's top 5 exploration programmes. India's space programme is not only of the highest quality but also cost effective. This is the reason why we have become the hope of many other countries in the world that do not have their space programmes. Last year we had launched the South Asia satellite that is being used by our neighbouring countries.
We are using Technology within the country to ensure accountability and transparency.
With the help of digital infrastructure, the engagement between the government and the citizens has totally transformed. Access to the government is no longer a privilege but has now become a practice. The common man is now able to engage and converse with the government directly. The old working style of the government has also totally changed. The piling up of files is no longer there and the focus is now on finishing the suspended work at a faster pace.
Today, setting up and doing business in India has become easier. For the first time India has made an improvement of 42 ranks in Ease of Doing Business to make a place for her within the top 100.
The historical reform brought in the country's indirect tax regime through GST has now become an integral part of life. There was an unprecedented growth in the country’s tax base and the businessmen who used to face a lot of hurdles previously due to different types of checks and obstacles are now relieved.
You must have heard about the use of JAM Trinity – the Jan Dhan bank account for the public, Aadhaar and Mobile phones, for social welfare. A system of Direct Benefit Transfer has been created with the help of this Trinity.
This provides direct benefits of the welfare schemes to those who are in need of it. There was a time when fake IDs used to be made in the names of those daughters that were not even born. Those IDs were used to depict the unborn daughters as widows and pensions meant for widows were taken by showing those fake IDs. However, the situation is different now. The poor is getting the money that he rightfully deserves. You will be glad to know that with this single scheme about 83 thousand crore rupees, i.e. more than 12 billion dollars were saved from falling into wrong hands after the ghost beneficiaries were eliminated.
We have left behind the old culture of merely doing lip service about eliminating poverty. We have made 'empowerment' as the tool for poverty alleviation.
The Mantra of 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' is now becoming a reality with the empowerment of weaker sections of the society and women.
Under Ujjwala Yojana, we are providing free gas connection to the poor women across the country. Our target is to achieve 80 million connections by the year 2020 and in less than 2 years we have already provided 36 million connections.
Earlier our mothers and sisters had to inhale smoke equivalent to that of 400 cigarettes but now they are getting clean cooking fuel.
The availability of cooking gas has also improved. Many of you might have migrated out of India several years ago. You might remember that at that time even gas cylinders were sold in black market. One had to face a lot of hurdle for getting a gas connection. Sometimes we had to ask our neighbours for gas cylinders. However, today the gas agency calls and asks whether you need a cylinder or not!
The entrepreneurs in every corner of the country are getting new opportunities due to micro-finance schemes like MUDRA. The scheme is for those who didn't get loans or financial support for their small businesses. As a result, under this Yojana, about 5.3 lakh crore rupees i.e. 12 crore (120 million) loans of about 90 billion dollars have been given. These are not 12 crore loans but 12 crore dreams and we have taken steps to fulfil them. This is also a medium of job creation. 74% of these entrepreneurs are women.
A system is being created for future economic progress through Atal Innovation Mission, Skill India Mission and Start-up India Mission.
Over 1 lakh students have taken part in this year's Smart India Hackathon. Thousands of them have given their suggestions regarding challenges that the country is facing. I had also spent time with these young talents across the country through video conference.
We are creating International partnerships to promote such efforts. Today we have signed an 'Innovation Partnership' with Sweden. In the month of January we had launched the iCreate centre with Israel for Innovation and entrepreneurship.
Innovation, skill development and entrepreneurship will benefit only when the quality of life of the country's citizens improves.
Today the government is focusing upon Ease of Living. Just a few days back the world's largest Healthcare Assurance scheme 'Ayushman Bharat' was announced. This is one of the largest schemes of the world. Friends, no other scheme can possibly compete with it. Now just one phase has been launched.
It has two components. First is laying a network of Health and Wellness centres across the country and the second is to provide Health Insurance cover of rupees 5 lakhs to 40% of the poorest population of the country.
Brothers and sisters,
This is not just reform but transformation. We have vowed to transform India.
This year on 2nd October not only India but the entire world will celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. We have decided that as a tribute to this great personality we will frame transformation strategy for India. Our journey could be long but we are on the right track. More over our resolution to reach the destination is determined.
We consider this partnership with Sweden to be very crucial in building a transformed India and a New India. We want to take our partnership to a new level not only with Sweden but also with other Nordic countries.
Apart from Sweden, I also had the opportunity to discuss with Prime Ministers of Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland. In addition to bilateral talks, the India-Nordic Summit between the leaders of India and the Nordic countries concluded sometime back. We have decided to further strengthen our partnership for innovation, skills and technological cooperation.
You have played a major role in India's growth story and international standing. Even though there is one single Indian Embassy in Sweden, our Ambassador is not one. You all are Indian ambassadors.
Today I want to request you all. Don't limit yourselves to just emotional connect with India. There are great opportunities in the emerging New India for those who want to innovate, trade and invest in India.
The new India is waiting for you. Now direct flights between India and Sweden have started. So there is no point in delaying.
Brothers and sisters,
There is a paucity of time. I have to reach London for a programme. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of connecting with you all in such a short time. I am delighted.
You have come here and given me the opportunity to talk about New India. Thank you very much for your hospitality and blessings. I also thank the Prime Minister for expressing his love towards India and Indian community. I thank the Prime Minister from the bottom of my heart.