My greetings to the elderly, mothers and sisters; and love for the youngsters and the children.
This is an era of Technology. I am able to connect with you all from thousands of kilometres away due to this wonder called 'technology'! I can see the happiness and the excitement on your faces.
Today we are celebrating the silver jubilee of Nairobi West Complex. I convey my heartfelt gratitude to you for your efforts to maintain the culture and tradition of Kutchi Leva Patel Society in Kenya.
Brothers and sisters,
Although the complex exists for the past 25 years but the contribution of Kutchi Leva Patel society in the development of East Africa is more than 125 years old. All of you have been Proactive over several decades for the development of East Africa. Everyone is familiar with your welfare activities in the fields of education, health and poverty alleviation.
It is highly commendable the way you have worked towards providing schools, hospitals and houses at affordable prices. The charity that you are running in Kenya for the children and the poor women is also commendable. Indeed the contribution of Indian diaspora to Kenya is not only limited to all the hard work done but also sacrifices made.
Several Indians like Makhan Singh, Shri MA Desai, Mr. Pio Gama Pinto have played a significant role in the freedom struggle of Kenya. The People of Indian Origin have worked hard for establishing industries and in the social service sector for the development of Kenya after its independence.
This is the reason why the Indians who were taken to Kenya for laying the railway lines during the colonial period are now the prosperous section of people there. Keeping India alive in their hearts, these people ceaselessly make efforts to instil new energy in the fields of education, medicine etc. Three great personalities like Manilal Premchand Chandaria, Mr. Feroz Navroz and Dr. FRS D'Souza were honoured With Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. It’s a great gesture on your part that when I had visited Kenya in 2016, I was welcomed by the government in a grandiose way. I clearly remember that in Kasarani Stadium you were present in thousands and had showered great love and blessings on me. I was overwhelmed. Several people among you were present there in the programme.
Friends, even though the decades old circumstances have placed India away from you, but a part of you is still there on its soil. Your heart keeps you all connected with India in an unbreakable way.
There is a saying in Gujarati language, 'kalam ne Jya vavi tya ugi nikali'. All of you have justified this saying. You all have adapted to the society of Kenya. Most of you have Kenyan passport. However, the fact is that you have simultaneously kept alive Indian-ness within you. I can feel this even more due to your presence in this programme. There is another saying, 'kachhdo khele khalak me, jee mahasagar me bach, je te hekro kachhi vase, o tadiyandi Kutch'. This means that just as a crocodile plays and roams about in the ocean, similarly the people of Kutch roam around in the entire world and wherever a Kutchi settles down, that place becomes a new Kutch in a few days.
I have seen myself that Kutchi brothers and sisters can turn a challenge into an opportunity whether they are in Kenya or in Kutch. After the devastation of Gujarat earthquake in 2001, people felt that Kutch would never be able to rise again. However, the hard working people of Kutch proved them wrong in just a few years.
The dry and arid land of Kutch has now turned into a tourist spot. Once upon a time Kutch used to be a deserted place without a sign of development or connectivity. However, today the same Kutch has found a beautiful place in the country's tourist map. Many of you might have attended the Ranotsav; if you haven't then I would like to urge you all to attend it. It is not merely a depiction of Kutch's culture but also a great economic trend. There has been a remarkable change in Kutch's development over the years. I would especially like to tell the younger generation that there was a time when Kutch did not receive water for months. The people of Kutch had to leave their houses and cattle during the summer months. They used to crave for water. The cattle used to die. Now our government has provided Narmada water to that region of Kutch through the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Water has reached up to Tupper dam. Consequently today several villages and cities of Kutch are getting Narmada water. The central government and the state government are like the two engines of development for Kutch. They are providing the power of double engines. Thousands of crores of Rupees have been invested in Kutch in the last few years. The idea of making Coastal Economic Zone of about 50000 acres in Kutch is underway. There is also a plan to develop the Kandla port into a smart industrial Port.
Last year the government had flagged off the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro service. Similarly, a RO-RO service is being planned in Akhat of Kutch. We are planning to start this service between Kutch and Jamnagar. The government has also been presented a brief feasibility report of this project. This Ro-Ro ferry service will reduce the distance between Saurashtra and Kutch. The economic development of Kutch is also developing the entire Gujarat and consequently the development of Gujarat is helping in the country's overall development. The Gujarat model has been developed in the last 17-18 years by the people of Gujarat, by the people of India. It has now become the growth model of India. A few years ago an event named Vibrant Gujarat was conceptualised to attract investment. The same model has been adopted by different states of the country, from North to South and East to West. Today, looking at the development of Gujarat, the Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers of different countries are visiting the state. Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, China's President Mr Xi Jinping and Kenya's President have shown interest in visiting Gujarat and have witnessed the developmental activities closely.
Kenyan President had also attended the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. He had participated enthusiastically. I would like to urge those who have not visited India to attend the Kumbh Mela which will be held next year in the month of January in Allahabad. The Kumbh Mela is held after 12 years. Everyone, especially the elderly people usually have deep interest in attending the Mela. Next year in January 2019, this will continue for about one one-and-a-half month in Allahabad. It's my request that there should not be any such Indian, who is born and brought up in Africa, and has not yet seen India.
It is a beautiful opportunity to see and understand the country in a cultural and spiritual way. Plans should be made now to bring them to India for touring on the occasion of Kumbh. If you plan to attend the Kumbh Mela, you must also attend the Ranotsav in Gujarat. India is passing through a period of change and progress and moving forward in terms of economic policy or policy of social progress. To speed up the process of development of the country we have been working to eliminate corruption and to tackle terrorism.
Our government has given a new dimension to India's foreign policy as well. India has strengthened the relationship not only with Kenya but also with the entire African continent in the last three-four years. During the tenure of our government, three of us - the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister have visited more than 20 countries. Moreover India-Africa Summit was also successfully organised in India where representatives from 54 African countries had participated and the heads of 41 African countries were also present. It was a record in a way.
India had also announced the financial assistance of 10 billion dollars for the development works in Africa during the Summit. In the month of May last year, a successful meeting of the African Development Bank was held in Ahmedabad and several Ministers, representatives and heads of banks from the African countries were present there. Recently India has established 18 new embassies in African countries because many People of Indian Origin are also staying in small African countries who demanded the establishment of embassies. You will be glad to know and I wish to inform the Africans that recently Indian government has decided 18 new embassies and High Commissions will be started in the countries of Africa. The work will start soon.
The new High Commissions and Embassies will be helpful in strengthening the relationship between India and Africa. Besides, this will be helpful for the Indian community present across Africa. Our government is building a strong relationship with Kenya. The Indian government is providing financial assistance in the field of education and the social sector to Kenya. India is investing mainly in the areas like production, food processing, affordable houses and universal Healthcare. Our government is also creating new opportunities for skill development. I still remember the meeting with the Alumni Association of India. The Alumni Association of India has created a group of students who have studied in India in the last 50 years.
I believe that if there are any permanent Ambassadors for strengthening India's relations with the world, then it's you, the Indian diaspora, the People of Indian Origin and Indian community across the world. Usually the government appoints an Ambassador but you are the country's Ambassadors in true sense. All of you are well aware about the significance of M-Pesa for Digital transactions and transparent economy.
M-Pesa has become a model. In India several decisions have been taken by the government to increase digital transactions. The Bhim app is very popular in India. You can also download the Bhim app on mobile phones. You have a special relationship with Kutch. You prepare the pudding as soon as Kutch receives rainfall. This is the extent of love you have towards Kutch. You have daily conversations with the people of Kutch. I urge you all to explain the people of Kutch about the changes that have been brought by M-Pesa. Similarly the Katchi brothers should also learn to transact digitally through Bhim app. If you request them, they will listen to you.
The People of Indian Origin, it is a matter of pride for you all that there is immense respect for you. Our government has always tried to be connected with the People of Indian Origin or the migrant Indians in any part of the world and to solve their problems. Earlier a separate Ministry used to work for the NRIs but we received feedback and information from the NRIs that there was a lack of coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs because of this. Therefore, we have amalgamated both the Ministries to solve this problem as per your demands. Earlier PIO and OCI schemes were also separate. Many people were not aware of the difference between them. We have simplified the process of these two schemes and have eliminated the difference between the two. We have come up with a portal - MADAD, for real time monitoring and response of India's External Affairs Ministry and consular governance. You can now visit this portal and interact with the government. Now the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be organised regularly after every 2 years. Besides, regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is also celebrated. In the last 4 years of our governance this is a bright example of India’s changed mind-set.
Brothers and sisters,
You must have realised that in the last 3 to 4 years, the world's perception towards India has also positively changed and the sentiments of the people towards India have also become positive. One can feel the strength of the Indian passport abroad. One can clearly see all the changes in the system and the results in every field; be it economic development or social development. This is your country. Every Indian has to make efforts to fulfil the dream of a New India and to take it to new heights. Accomplishing the dream of New India will become easier with the help of your experiences and blessings. Once again my best wishes for the success of the Silver Jubilee celebration of Shri Kutchi Leva Patel Society. Thanks a lot!
Jai Swami Narayan!