At the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas 2015 at Gandhinagar, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi projected India as a land of opportunity for its overseas citizens. Drawing contrast from the earlier phase when Indians travelled abroad in search of opportunities he said, “Our forefathers went to far off lands in search of opportunity. They endured long journeys and carved a niche for themselves wherever they went. There was also a phase where educated Indians and professionals went abroad for more exposure or better prospects. Perhaps that phase was necessary. But today opportunities await you on Indian soil. Time has changed rapidly and the world is looking at India with hope. An Indian in any corner of the world has become a symbol of strength. The world is ready to embrace us and we must be ready for the world.”
He also marked the inaugural session by reminding the Diaspora, of the promises he delivered on i.e.
- Merging of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes- one-time visa.
- Exemption from weekly police reporting for overseas Indians.
He further infused confidence in ‘Pravasi Bhartiyas’, by calling them a source of energy, driving India of the path of success.
On the sidelines of the 13th edition of the mega event, he also engaged in substantive diplomacy with Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana; Maite Nkoana Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa; and Showkutally Soodhum, Vice Prime Minister, Mauritius.
PM, Mr. Narendra Modi, agreed to provide USD 50 million to fund a road project in Guyana along with “Concessional credit” to supply a passenger ferry to help overcome transportation problems. He also announced that India would set up its First IT centre for Excellence in the Caribbean country.
Guyana now becomes the 44th country whose nationals would get tourist visa on arrival, in addition to facility of Electronic Travel Authorization (e-visa).
India and South Africa are also determined to further cultural and economic ties., including enhanced cooperation on deep-mining and infrastructure projects. Need for UN Security Council reforms especially when 2015 marks its 70th anniversary.
With Mauritius both sides seem equally keen in enhancing cooperation in infrastructure development and ocean trade. PM has also been invited to visit Mauritius to further relations.
President of Guyana Donald R Ramotar, will also be awarded with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award this year. He is among the 15 NRIs being awarded, akin Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
This year Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas gets all the more lustrous with January 9th marking a 100 years to the day when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. This day in 1915 he alighted at Apollo Bunder with Kasturba.
PM used the grand platform to push Clean Ganga Campaign by involving the Indian Diaspora. He highlighted the fact that development of 40 per cent population of India is dependent on “Maa Ganga”.
Abreast with latest technology of interacting with his audience he tweeted –
There is one more issue that I am sure you are concerned about and that is the rejuvenation of Maa Ganga: PM @narendramodi
Addressing about 4,000 NRIs from across 58 countries, here to attend the 3-day event, he exemplified the Gangasagar lake, an artificial lake at Mauritius. He also launched the “Namami Gange” fund, for the world to contribute.
Started in 2003 by former Indian PM Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas has been a regular event and has done its fair bit to bring India to the world fora. Through this event, India beckons the Diaspora to re-invest and claim their share of support to the Indian success story. This has also kept the zest going in the overseas Indians, and has kept a window open for them to re-engage in developmental activities ‘back home’. On account of the positive signs on the policy front, with the advent of BJP- led central government, NRIs have been showing greater involvement. This enthusiasm is evident with the overwhelming number of audience that Mr. Prime Minister has been able to garner, over the various oversees visits he has made since he took the oath to the office.
MANAGER- COMMUNICATION AND TRAINING