പ്രവാസി ഭാരതീയ ദിവസത്തിന്റെ ഈ വേളയില് നിങ്ങള്ക്കെല്ലാവര്ക്കും എന്റെ ആശംസകള്. പ്രവാസി ദിവസത്തിന്റെ ഈ പാരമ്പര്യത്തില് ഈ ആദ്യത്തെ പ്രവാസി പാര്ലമെന്റേറിയന് സമ്മേളനം ഇന്ന് ഒരു പുതിയ അധ്യായം കൂട്ടിച്ചേര്ക്കുകയാണ്. വടക്കേ അമേരിക്ക, ദക്ഷിണാഫ്രിക്ക, ആഫ്രിക്ക, യൂറോപ്പ്, ഏഷ്യ, പസഫിക് മേഖല എന്നിവിടങ്ങളില്നിന്നും ലോകത്തിന്റെ എല്ലാ മുക്കുമൂലകളില്നിന്നും ഇവിടെ എത്തിച്ചേര്ന്നിരിക്കുന്ന മുഴുവന് സുഹൃത്തുക്കള്ക്കും ഞാന് ഊഷ്മളമായ സ്വാഗതം ആശംസിക്കുന്നു.
ഇന്ത്യയിലേക്കു സ്വാഗതം! സ്വവസതിയിലേക്കു സ്വാഗതം!
നിങ്ങളുടെ പൂര്വ്വികരും നിങ്ങളുടെ പൂര്വ്വസ്മരണകളും ഈ രാജ്യത്തിന്റെ വിവിധ ഭാഗങ്ങളുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്നു. നിങ്ങളില് ചിലരുടെ പൂര്വ്വികര് വ്യാപാരത്തിനും വിദ്യാഭ്യാസത്തിനുമായി കടല് കടന്നുപോയി. അവരില് ചിലര് രാജ്യത്തുനിന്ന് നിര്ബന്ധപൂര്വം പുറത്താക്കപ്പെട്ടു, ചിലരെ മോഹിപ്പിച്ച് വശംവദരാക്കി പുറത്താക്കി. അവര് ാരീരികമായി ഇവിടെ നിന്നു വിട്ടുപോയിട്ടുണ്ടാകാമെങ്കിലും സ്വന്തം ആത്മാവിന്റെയും ഹൃദയത്തിന്റെയും ഒരു ഭാഗം ഇവിടെ ഈ മണ്ണില് അവശേഷിപ്പിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടാകും. അതുകൊണ്ട് നിങ്ങള് ഇന്ത്യയിലെ ഏത് വിമാനത്താവളത്തില് ഇറങ്ങുമ്പോഴും നിങ്ങളെ ഈ മണ്ണില്ക്കണ്ട് അവരുടെ ആത്മാവ് ആഹ്ലാദിക്കും.
അപ്പോള് നിങ്ങള് ഗദ്ഗദകണ്ഠരാകും, വികാരങ്ങള് കണ്ണീരിന്റെ രൂപത്തില് പുറത്തുവരും. ആ വികാരങ്ങള് പുറത്തുവരാതിരിക്കാന് കിണഞ്ഞു ശ്രമിച്ചാലും നിങ്ങള് വിജയിക്കില്ല. നിങ്ങളുടെ കണ്ണുകള് കണ്ണീരുകൊണ്ട് ഈറനണിയുമെങ്കിലും ഇന്ത്യയില് എത്തിയതിന്റെ ആഹ്ലാദത്തില് അവ വിടരുകയും ചെയ്യും. നിങ്ങളുടെ വികാരങ്ങള് എനിക്കു മനസ്സിലാകും. ഈ മമത, ഈ സ്നേഹം, ഈ ബഹുമാനം, ഇവിടുത്തെ കാറ്റിന്റെ സുഗന്ധം, ഈ മണ്ണിന്റെ മണം, ആ യാഥാര്ഥ്യത്തെ ഞാന് നമിക്കുന്നു. നിങ്ങളെ ഇന്ന് ഇവിടെ കാണുന്നതില് നിങ്ങളുടെ പൂര്വികര് എത്രമാത്രം സന്തോഷിക്കുമായിരുന്നു എന്ന് നമുക്കെല്ലാം സങ്കല്പ്പിക്കാന് സാധിക്കും. അവര് എവിടെ ആയിരുന്നാലും, നിങ്ങളെ ഈ മണ്ണില് കാണുന്നതില് ഏറെ സന്തോഷിക്കുന്നവര് തന്നെയായിരിക്കും.
All these things became possible only because we have been bringing about far reaching policy reforms in every sector of Indian economy. Our guiding principle is: ‘Reform to transform’. Our objective is to the make the entire system transparent and accountable. Our objective is to completely eradicate the corruption.
We have abolished the web of hundreds of taxes in the country through the GST - Goods and Services Tax - and integrated the country economically. There is not a single sector like Mining, Fertilizers, Textiles, Aviation, Health, Defense, Construction, Real Estate, and Food Processing, in which we have not brought in reforms.
Today, India is the youngest country of the world. Youth have unlimited dreams and expectations. The government has continuously been working so that they can channelize their energy in the right field, so that they can do business on their own.
Schemes like Skill India Mission, Start up Scheme, Stand up Scheme and Mudra Scheme have been started precisely for this reason. More than 10 crore loans have been sanctioned under the Mudra scheme for self-employment. More than Rs. 4 lakh crore have been disbursed to the people without any bank guarantee. This scheme alone has provided 3 crore new entrepreneurs to the country. The government has been increasing the investment in the infrastructure and transport sectors by keeping the requirements of the India of the 21st century in mind. This thing has been given special importance in the policy that what kind of logistics India will need in future. Highways, Railways, Airways, Waterways and ports are being developed in such a manner so that they are connected to each other and can support each other.
Today, new railway tracks in India have been laid at twice the speed. Doubling of tracks has been taking place at more than twice the speed. National highways have been built at twice the speed. More than double new renewable energy capacity has been connected to the grid.
While the cargo handling growth in the shipping industry was in negative earlier, in this government it has registered a growth of 11%. New employment opportunities are being generated due to all these efforts. Small scale industries are getting new work at local level. For example if we talk about Ujjwala scheme then it is not only limited to providing free gas connection to poor women. This scheme has given relief from kitchen smoke to more than three crore women. It has not only helped in making the states Kerosene free but has one more advantage also. New cooking gas dealers have been appointed and the number of gas delivery men has gone up after the launch of Ujjwala scheme. It means that that in addition to social reforms the economic empowerment of society is also taking place.
Brothers and sisters,
Our culture which believes that the whole world is a family has given a lot to the world. When I have gone to the United Nations for the first time then I have put forward the proposal of having an International Yoga Day before the world. All of you are aware that not only within 75 days this proposal was cleared unanimously but it was co-sponsored by 177 countries. Today, the way millions and millions of people around the world celebrate 21st June as Yoga Day, it’s a matter of pride for you and for us.
This method of holistic living is a gift of rich traditions of India.
I, along with the President of France, have proposed to form an International Solar Alliance at the time of Paris agreement on climate change. Now it has become reality. We have been making a global platform for solar technology and financing with the help of solar rich countries.
This method of living by maintaining balance with the nature is also an Indian contribution for ages.
Brothers and sisters,
When an earthquake struck Nepal or when there was a flood in Sri Lanka or when there was a shortage of water in Maldives then India reached there as the first responder.
When there was a crisis in Yemen then we safely evacuated our 4,500 citizens, but we also evacuated 2,000 citizens of 48 other countries.
Protecting the human values even the times of grave crisis is part of Indian tradition of considering the entire world as one family.
In 2018, it will be hundred year of the World War I. More than 1.5 lakh Indian soldiers have sacrificed their lives in the first and second world wars. And it was when India was not directly involved with those wars. India did not have any interest in a single inch of land of any country in both the world wars. The world will have to recognize what a great sacrifice was made by India. And this tradition has continued even after the independence. India is one among those nations which make the maximum contribution to the UN peace keeping forces. This is India’s message of sacrifice to the world for human values and peace.
This renunciation of self-interest, this feeling of service and renunciation is our identity.
India has a special acceptance in the world due to this human value. And along with India, the society of people of Indian origin, you people also have a special acceptance.
Whenever I visit any country then I always try to meet with the people of Indian origin living in that country. And I was fortunate to meet some of you during such visits. And the biggest reason behind my effort is that I believe that if there are any permanent ambassadors for promoting India’s relations then these are the people of Indian origin. It is our constant endeavor that we should be in regular touch with non-resident Indians and continue to solve their problems.
Earlier there was a separate ministry for overseas Indians but we received the feedback from non-resident Indians that there was a problem of coordination with the ministry of external affairs. We merged both the ministries into one after getting feedback from you people. You would be aware that earlier there were two distinct schemes – PIO and OCI and most of the people were not even aware about the distinction between the two. We simplified the process and created one scheme by merging them.
Our Minister of External affairs, Sushma Swaraj Ji, not only keeps an eye on the problems of Indian citizens but she also keeps an eye on the people of Indian origin 24x7, you will find her very active. Under her leadership, Minister of External affairs has created a Madad portal for real time monitoring and extending help for consular grievances. At present, Pravasi Bhartiya Day has been organised in every alternate year. In addition to this, regional Pravasi Bhartiya Days have also been organised. Sushma Ji has just come back after participating in such a conference in Singapore.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, the building in which we all are present, this building has been dedicated to all of you – the people of Indian origin on the 2nd of October 2016. It is a matter of great happiness that in such a short span of time this centre has emerged as a hub for people of Indian origin. I will urge you people that you must visit the exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi which has been organised here.
We have seen the result of these efforts aimed at connecting with the minds of overseas Indians in the quiz competition - Know India. More than 5,700 overseas Indian youths of over hundred countries participated in the competition. Their enthusiasm and attraction for India is very encouraging for all of us. While getting inspiration from them, this year we have been organizing the quiz even at a greater scale.
India also gets respect by your contribution in the development of your respective countries. And India’s progress and development result in the increased respect for overseas Indian community. We consider overseas Indians as our partners in our efforts for the development of India. Overseas Indians have been assigned a special place in the action agenda prepared for India’s development till 2020 by Niti Aayog.
Brothers and sisters,
Overseas Indians have several ways for contributing to India’s developmental journey. India is the largest recipient of overseas remittances in the world.
We are indebted to every Indian living abroad for making this important contribution in India’s economy. There is one more way for making investment in Indian economy. Today, if India is the most attractive destination for FDI in the world then the contribution of overseas Indians in creating awareness and facilitating this thing is immense. I think that given the importance that you people enjoy in your societies you can play the role of catalyst in this thing. In this context, the Diaspora of people of Indian origin can immensely contribute in promoting the tourism.
CEOs and leaders of some of the top world companies are our overseas Indians. They fully understand India’s economy. That is why we are grateful to them for their strong confidence in India’s developmental journey. Today, every Indian settled abroad considers him a stake-holder in India’s growth. And they want to become a part in this change; they want to shoulder their responsibility. They want to see the further rise of their country on the global stage. We are aware about the importance of your experience for bringing about social and economic changes of the country. A scheme called VAJRA means Visiting Adjunct Joint Research Faculty has been started so that your experience can help India.
You can work in Indian institutions for up to three months under this scheme.
Today, I appeal to all of you from this platform that you should associate yourselves with this scheme and also encourage Indians in your country to get associated with it. You will also feel good when your experience will benefit young generation of India. Nobody else has the kind of capacity that you people have to introduce India’s requirements, India’s strength and uniqueness to the world.
The values of Indian civilization and culture can guide the entire world in this chaotic environment. The concerns over the health care are on the rise in the world. And you can tell the world about your old tradition of holistic living. In such a time when the world community is getting divided in different ideologies and at different levels you can give the example of India’s inclusive philosophy of Sabka Sath – Sabka Vikas (With all, development of all) that takes along everyone. When the concerns over extremism and radicalization are on the rise in the world then you can reiterate Indian culture’s message of ‘amity between all religions.
All of you are aware that in 2019 a Kumbh Fair will be organised in Prayag-Allahabad. It is also a matter of pride for all of us that recently Kumbh fair was included in the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Uttar Pradesh government has started its preparation on a comprehensive scale. I’d like to urge you people that when you visit India next year then you must come prepared to pay a visit to Prayag. If you tell other people in your country about this grand event then they will also become aware about this legacy of Indian culture.
Brothers and sisters,
The world is facing some huge challenges and in order to overcome them the ideas of Gandhi Ji are still relevant. Any dispute can be solved by following the path of non-violence and passive resistance. If there is any ideology that can counter extremism and radicalization then it is the ideology of Gandhi Ji; it’s the ideology of Indian values.
We want to move forward by joining hands with you in order to make a developed India and for realising the dream of a New India. In this conference we want to be benefit from your experience. We want to inform you about the development of a New India, we want to associate ourselves with you. Wherever you may be, in whichever country you might live, we want to become a partner in your developmental journey.
The 21st century is called Asian century. And India will certainly have an important role in it. Wherever you may be living, you will feel the impact of this role, will feel the impact of rising stature of India. We will be encouraged to work even harder when your heads are held high after witnessing India’s economic growth and rising power.
Brothers and sisters,
India is that country which has always played a positive role in the global arena. We have never assessed our policy towards any country on the scale of profit and loss but we saw it through the prism of human values.
Our model for giving developmental aid is not based on give and take. But it depends on the requirements and priorities of recipient countries. We neither have any intention to exploit anybody’s resources nor do we covet any country’s territory. Our focus has always been on capacity building and resource development. On every platform we have made efforts to move forward by taking everyone along be it a bilateral or multilateral platform, be it commonwealth or India-Africa Forum Summit or be it Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation.
We have given a more strong shape to our already strong relations with ASEAN countries by taking forward our relations with them. The world will be able to see how strong India-ASEAN relations are in a few days from now on the occasion of Republic Day.
India has been supporter of happiness, peace, prosperity, democratic values, inclusiveness, cooperation and brotherhood in the entire world. These are the same values that connect you with your electorate as a people’s representative. This is our attempt and it is our commitment as well that India will continue to contribute for peace, progress and prosperity in the world.
Once again I express my heartfelt gratitude to you people for accepting our invitation and for taking time out from your busy schedules to attend this conference. I am confident that this conference will be successful due to your active participation. I hope that I will get another opportunity to meet you people in the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas next year.
Thank you very much.