Namaste to all my Indian brothers and sisters in the country and abroad! Best wishes to all of you for 2021! Today, the Internet might have connected us from every nook and corner of the world, but we all are attached to Mother Bharati and towards each other with affection.
There is a tradition to honour all the colleagues who have enhanced the pride of Mother Bharati all over the world with the “PravasiBharatiyaSamman” every year. About 240 dignitaries spread over 60 different countries have been honoured since the journey, which began under the guidance of Bharat Ratnalate ShriAtalBihari Vajpayee ji. It will also be announced this time. Similarly, thousands of colleagues from all over the world have participated in the Bharat Ko Janiye(Know India) Quiz competition. These numbers show that they may be away from the roots, but the new generation’s attachment is growing as much.The 15 winners of this quiz competition are also present among us in this virtual event today.
I congratulate and extend my best wishes to all the winners, and all of you deserve accolades for taking part in this quiz competition. And this is my request to all the participants of this quiz competition that you should try to connect 10 more people when the next quiz competition is held. This chain should continue and grow and you should add more people. Many people from abroad come to study in India and return to their countries after their studies; they should also be requested to join this quiz competition and become its ambassadors because technology is the easiest way to awaken the curiosity of the new generation to know India so that they can create an identity of India in the world. And, therefore, I would urge you to take it forward.
The past year has been a year of many challenges for all of us. But amidst these challenges, the way our Indian Diaspora has done the work and discharged its duty around the world is a matter of pride for India as well. This is our tradition andthese are the customs of this land. There is a strong trust in Indian-origin colleagues all over the world for social and political leadership from here.
The chief guest of this event today, the new President of Suriname ShriChandrikaParasadSantokhiji, is also a shining example of this spirit of service. And I would also say that many of our Indian brothers and sisters living abroad have also lost their lives during this corona period. I offer my condolences to them and I pray that God gives a lot of strength to their family members. Today, the warm words of the President of Suriname and his affection for India have touched the heart of all of us. In each of his words, in every sense, his feeling towards India was reflected and was motivating us.Like him, I also hope that we will meet soon, and we will also have the opportunity to accord a grand welcome to the President of Suriname in India. In the past year, overseas Indians have further strengthened their identity in every sphere.
I have had discussions with many Heads of the State in the world in the past few months. The State Heads specifically mentioned how overseas Indian doctors, paramedics and common Indian citizens have served in their country. Whether it is temples, or gurudwaras, or the great tradition of langar (community kitchen), many of our social, cultural and religious organisations have taken the lead in the spirit of service and have served every citizen in this difficult situation. I feel very proud when I hear it from every country of the world. And you can imagine, when I listened to your praise on the phone, and every leader of the world used to sing paean of you, and when I shared all these with my colleagues, everyone's heart was filled with joy and pride. Your culture is being talked about in every part of the world. Which Indian would not feel good? All of you have cooperated in every way in this fight against Covid not only in India but also where you are living. The contribution you made to PM Cares Fund is helping to strengthen health infra in India. I thank all of you for that.
The great saint and philosopher of India, Saint Thiruvalluvar, said in Tamil, the oldest language in the world, and we should say it with pride:
केए-डरीयाक केट्टअ इड्डत्तुम वड़न्गुन्ड्रा।
नाडेन्प नाट्टिन तलई।
Its essence is that the best land in the world is which does not learn malevolence from its opponents, but does not flinch in welfare towards others in crises.
All of you have lived up to this mantra. This has always been the feature of our India. During peace or crisis, we Indians have always fought every situation with grit. That is why we have seen a different behaviourregarding this great land. When India opened a front against colonialism, it became an inspiration for the struggle for freedom in many countries of the world. When India stood up to terrorism, the world also got a new courage to fight this challenge.
Today, India is using maximum technology to eliminate corruption. Billions of rupees, which were earlier going in the wrong hands because of many shortcomings, are directly reaching the beneficiary's bank account today. You may have seen, the new systems that India has developed during the Corona period have also been lauded by the global institutions. The campaign to empower the poorest of the poor with modern technologyin India today is being discussed at every level in every nook and corner of the world.
Brothers and sisters,
We have shown that any country in the developing world can also take lead in the case of renewable energy. Today, India's One Sun, One World, One Gridmantra is also appealing to the world.
The history of India is witness that all apprehensions have been proved wrong whenever someone doubted India's competence and the strength of Indians. During slavery, great scholars abroad used to say that India cannot be liberated because it is very much divided. Those apprehensions were proved wrong, and we gained freedom.
When India gained independence, it was also said that such a poor and not so literate India would collapse and scatter and democracy is impossible here. The truth today is that India is united and if democracy anywhere in the world is strong, vibrant and alive, it is in India.
Brothers and sisters,
For decades after independence there was this narrative that India being poor and illiterate, therefore, chances of investment in science and technology were remote. Today, India's space program, our tech Startup eco-system, is leading in the world. Even in the year of challenges due to Covid, many new Unicorns and hundreds of new Tech Startups have emerged in India.
Even during pandemic, India again showed its strength and potential. The solidarity with which such a large democratic country rose is not exemplified in the world. India used to import PPE kits, masks, ventilators, testing kits, etc. During this corona period, India boosted its strength and today it has not only become self-reliant but has also started exporting many of these products. Today, India is one of the countries with the lowest fatality rate and the fastest recovery rate in the world.
Today, India is ready to protect humanity with not one but two ‘Made in India’ Corona vaccines. Being the world's pharmacy, India has delivered essential medicines to every needy in the world in the past and is still doing it. The world is not just waiting for India's vaccine today, but is keenly watching how India runs the world's largest vaccination program.
What India has learnt during this global epidemic has now become an inspiration for a self-reliant India campaign. It is said in our country:
शतहस्त समाह सहस्रहस्त सं किर
That is, earn with hundreds of hands, but share with thousands of hands. This is also the spirit behind India's self-reliance. The products that will be made in India with the hard work of millions of Indians and the solutions that will be developed in India will benefit the whole world. The world can never forget the role of India during Y-2-K and how India relieved the world of worries. Even at this difficult time, the role of our pharmaindustry demonstrates that the benefits of India’s capabilities in any field reach the entire world.
Today, if the whole world has so much trust in India, it is due to the great contribution of all the overseas Indians. Wherever you went, you took India andIndiannessalong with you. You breathed Indianness. You have also been awakening people with Indianness. And you see whether it is food or fashion, family values or business values, you have spread Indianness. I have always believed that if the culture of India has been popular all over the world, it has been possible because of your entity, conduct and behavior more than the magazines, cookbooks or manuals. India has never imposed anything on the world, has never tried to impose, never thought of imposing, but all of you in the world have created a curiosity and interest for India. It may have started with curiosity, but it has reached the level of conviction.
Today, when India is moving forward to become self-reliant, your role in strengthening the identity of Brand India is equally important. When you use Made in India products more and more, the people around you will also have trust in them. Wouldn't you be proud when you see your colleagues, your friends using Made in India products? It can be anything from tea to textile and therapy. I enjoy it when Khadi is becoming a centre of attraction in the world today. Not only will you increase the export volumes of India, but will also bring India’s rich diversity to the world. Above all, you will become a means of delivering affordable and quality solutions to the poorest of the worldunder the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign.
Whether it is investment in India or remittances, your contribution has been incomparable. Every Indian and the entire India takes pride and is anxious for your assistance, your expertise, investment and your networks. All necessary steps are also being taken in this regard so that you also get opportunities and the expectations here are also fulfilled.
Many of you know that the 'VaishwikBharatiyaVaigyaniki.e., ‘Vaibhav' summit was heldfor the first time a few weeks ago. More than 25,000 scientists and experts from 70 countries deliberated at the conference for about 750 hours. And this has led to about 100 reports on 80 subjects, which will be of immense help in the development of technologies and systems in many areas. The dialogue will continue now. In addition, in the past months, India has made structural reforms from education to enterprisefor meaningful changes. This has expanded opportunities for your Investment. In order to promote manufacturing, the Production Linked Subsidies Scheme has become very popular in a very short time. You can also take full advantage of it.
The Government of India is with you all the time and every moment. More than 45 lakh Indians stranded abroad due to corona lockdown worldwide have been rescued under the Vande Bharat Mission. All possible efforts were made to ensure timely help to the Indian community abroad. All possible efforts were made at the diplomatic level to protect the employment of Indians abroad during the pandemic.
A new initiative called 'Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support'or SWADES was launched for colleagues who have returned from several countries, including Gulf. The objective of this database is to do skill mapping of the workers returning under the VandeBharat mission and connect them with Indian and foreign companies.
Similarly, a new portal RISHTA has been launched for better connectivity with the Indian community across the world. This portal will make it easier to communicate with your community in difficult times and to reach them faster. This portal will also helpin India's development through the expertise of our peers from all over the world.
We are now moving towards the 75th year of independence. The next PravasiBharatiya Divas will also be associated with the celebrations of the 75th year of independence. With the inspiration of countless great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, NetajiSubhash Chandra Bose and Swami Vivekananda, the Indian community across the world has played an important role in freedom. It is time to remember the freedom fighters who worked for India's independence while remaining outside India.
I will urge all the people of the Indian community who are spread all over the world and all those at our missions abroad to create a digital platform, a portal and place every factof overseas Indians who have played a special role in the war of freedomin that portal.Photographs should be put wherever they are available. It should have a description about what and how did anybody do all over the world. The valour, effort, sacrifice and devotion of every Indian towardsBharat Mata should be eulogized. It should have autobiographies of those who have contributed to liberating India while living abroad.
And I would also like to have a different quiz chapter on the contribution of Indian community across the world in the next quiz competition. It should have 500-700-1000 questions which can become a good pool of knowledge for those who are curious about Indians spread all over the world. All such steps will strengthen our bond and inspire generations to come.
You all have met virtually today in such a large number. It has not been possible to meet in person due to corona, but every citizen of India always wants you to be healthy, safe and make a mark for yourself and the country.
With this wish, I once again express my heartfelt gratitude to the President of Suriname. He is one of those great men who have inspired us, are associated with us and who have truly enhanced the pride of India. My special thanks to him. And thank you all with this wish!