The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today exhorted Indians to join in the development effort as a mass movement. "I am going to make an India of your dreams," the Prime Minister said as he exhorted the Indian American community to join in the development effort for India. He was addressing the Indian diaspora at a historic event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event was attended by over 18,000 people.
The Prime Minister said that following the election results, there has been a renewed sense of hope and expectation about India. He said all Indian Americans today wanted to renew their links with India.
The Prime Minister highlighted the unique combination of three great strengths that India has: democracy, demography and demand. He said that for India, democracy is not just a system of governance, but an article of faith.
Shri Narendra Modi said winning the election is a huge responsibility and he will leave no stone unturned to make India a developed country. He said that with the blessings of 125 crore Indians, he was confident that the common man's hopes and aspirations will be fulfilled. "I will do nothing to make you feel ashamed," the Prime Minister said. He said that the country now had the capability, the possibility and the opportunity to make the 21st century India's century. He said India is both the youngest nation and oldest civilization on earth.
Saying that development is ultimately achieved through public participation, the Prime Minister said he wants to make development a mass movement, just like Mahatma Gandhi had made the freedom movement a mass movement. He highlighted various initiatives that have been initiated by the new Government including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Make in India, Swachh Bharat and Clean Ganga.
The Prime Minister referred to the talent of Indian youth, as exemplified by the success of Mars Orbiter Mission. The Prime Minister also highlighted his stress on skill development and said India could soon emerge as a global supplier of skilled workforce like nurses and teachers. The Prime Minister invited the Indian diaspora to share their suggestions through the platform MyGov.in He said one of his key initiatives was to remove redundant laws, and he would be happy if he could do so at a pace of one a day. He said governance should be for aspirations of common man. People didn't make me PM to do easy things, he remarked.
He said 2015 marked a century since the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India. He invited all Pravasi Bharatiyas to join in the celebration, and contribute towards developing India. He said Indians must present Swachh Bharat as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th anniversary in 2019. Referring to his effort for a Clean Ganga, he said the Indian diaspora across the world revered the River Ganga. He said a clean Ganga would improve economic prospects for upto 40 percent of India's population, for which the river was like a lifeline. He also referred to his vision of "Housing for All" on the 75th anniversary of Independence.
The Prime Minister unveiled a series of facilitation initiatives aimed at making travel from America to India easier:
Noting that there are certain differences between the PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) schemes, the Prime Minister said PIO cardholders will be granted visa for life, and a new scheme will be announced soon, merging the two schemes.
He said there would be no need for long-stay visitors to India to visit police stations.
He also announced long term tourist visas for American citizens and said visa on arrival for American tourists will be announced soon.