Come, Connect, Celebrate, Contribute to build Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat
Gandhinagar: External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj inaugurated the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gandhinagar today, as a precursor to the main Pravasi Bharatiya Divas starting tomorrow. She exhorted young global Indians to come, Connect, Celebrate and Contribute to build Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj speaking at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas said, what excites the world today is India`s economy which is showing new dynamism under the new government under PM Narendra Modi. Even though situated thousands of miles away, Indian Diaspora have kept the spirit of Bharat alive. The Minister said, providing skills to our people, particularly the young, is also our priority. The External Affairs Minister and Overseas Affairs Minister said that she feels great joy in addressing this gathering of youth from across the world, who share a special bond with India, a bond of the heart. Speaking to the young generation of Pravasis, she said that this Youth PBD is about 3Cs.
The first C is Connect
Today, an estimated 25 million people of Indian origin and non-resident Indians live and work outside India. The Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas is essentially a platform to connect this Indian diaspora with the motherland and involve the diaspora in the development and advancement of India. With this PBD we mark 100 years of the return of the greatest ‘Pravasi Bharatiya’, Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who arrived back in India from South Africa on January 9, 1915, she said. Today, India is seen as a rising power, and appreciated across the world for the way it has converged strong democratic institutions with rapid development. The biggest asset of this new India is its youth.
Even though India is an old civilization, today it is also one of the youngest countries in the world, with more than 50 per cent of our population being under the age of 25, which means that soon one fifth of the world’s working age population will be in India. The Youth PBD seeks to connect the new generation of Indians who are confident, aspirational and transcend the old boundaries of caste and class, the minister said.
The second C is Celebrate
We want the young Pravasis to take pride in the history and civilizational heritage of India which is their cultural inheritance. M K Gandhi came back to India a hundred years ago and brought about momentous changes to this land, which made him a Mahatma. Gandhi thought that it was necessary for him to get to know India better before he launched himself into the national freedom movement. He went around the country on trains, always traveling in third class, to be among the people, and observed many things about the country. This voyage of discovery opened his eyes to the true face of India and its problems, which he then set out to solve. To know more about India, its traditions, and its art and culture, a session on ‘Bharat ko Jano’ will tell you that zero and the decimal system were India’s gift to the world. The value of ‘Pi’ was first calculated by Budhayana in the sixth century. The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. The earliest school of medicine known to humans was Ayurveda which was consolidated by Charaka, the father of medicine, some 2,500 years ago.
Ideas such as non-violence, tolerance and respect for diversity and difference are enshrined in our way of life and have shown the world the way to live with peace and harmony. In second plenary session called ‘Bharat ko Mano’ tells youth about the remarkable strides that modern India has taken, especially in the fields of science and technology. The nation which gave the world the concept of zero, has also mastered the nuclear cycle, sent expeditions to Antarctica and even unmanned missions to the moon and Mars. In fact ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’ was recently named among the best inventions of 2014 by TIME magazine. The spacecraft, which took just four years from feasibility study to arrival in Mars orbit, cost approximately 25 million dollars, less than the budget for the Hollywood film ‘Gravity’. India also became the first nation to reach Mars orbit in its very first attempt.
India’s soft power has also been spreading around the world. The intensity of India’s international engagement has also increased manifold which can be seen from the calendar of high level visits both to and from India. Prime Minister Modi’s out-of-the-box initiatives and whirlwind tours have raised India’s global profile. In a few days from now President Obama will grace our Republic Day parade as the Chief Guest, she said. The Indian economy which is now the third largest in terms of purchasing power parity, is showing new dynamism under the NDA government , with a complete transformation in the business sentiment vis-à-vis India.
To enhance ease of doing business, the Government has taken multiple steps to simplify procedures, rationalize rules and increase use of technology for efficient and effective governance. Efforts are on to identify obsolete laws and regulations which need to be repealed. Skilling our people, particularly the young, is also a priority. There is also a clear focus on infrastructure. Several steps have been taken to enhance financing of infrastructure, and we have moved towards a more transparent policy on natural resources. Given the enormous requirements for infrastructure development over the next few years, foreign investment is going to be extremely important.
And the third C – Contribute
We want you, the Pravasis, to contribute to the development of India. We want you to participate in the vision that Prime Minister Modi has for India’s future. We have launched several programmes that have the potential to transform India. The Jan Dhan Yojana, the world’s largest programme of financial inclusion, has just crossed the 100 million mark and 98.4 per cent of households in India now have bank accounts.
The Swachh Bharat campaign for cleanliness has become a mass movement. This is an issue that affects not only people’s health but is also an attack on social ills like untouchability and manual scavenging. The ‘Make in India’ programme signals our commitment to transforming India into the manufacturing hub of the world. The ‘Digital India’ initiative aims at delivering government services electronically by 2018. It will encompass not only e-governance, but also broadband for all, IT-enabled education and telemedicine. We have already rolled out biometric attendance in government offices as a practical example of this initiative. The Smart Cities programme aims to build 100 smart cities in India which will be well-planned, technologically integrated and environment-friendly.
The Government has been working in mission mode to implement all these programmes. The Modi Government is fully committed to good governance, efficiency, accountability, transparency, and speedy decision making. There are tremendous opportunities today for you to join us, especially in the fields of manufacturing, infrastructure development, education, health, skills development, science and technology, research and innovation, knowledge economy and youth development as part of our effort to realise India’s full potential. Friends, just as Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest ambassador of peace, non-violence and truth during his time, you can become the ambassadors of the new India. Today, the pravasi is the most significant example of India’s ‘soft power’. Through your work abroad as software gurus, tech wizards, eminent academics and trail blazing business persons, a clear and powerful message of India’s capabilities has been conveyed to the world. Your honest work ethic, law abiding and hard working nature have contributed to the global image of India and Indians.
The Minister said that most important of all, the diaspora have retained a bit of India in their hearts. Even though situated thousands of miles away, you have kept the spirit of Bharat alive. For some of you this may be the very first visit to the land of your fathers or forefathers. For some others it may be yet another link in the voyage of discovery that you have embarked upon. So global Indians, come, Connect, Celebrate, Contribute and become a part of the momentous transformation taking place in the country to build Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat.
Earlier, delivering the keynote address, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said, Indian diaspora shared strong links with motherland and have been partners in progress. He said overseas Indian remittances totalled $ 70 billion last fiscal. The Minister further said "these are exciting times for partnering. Ideas and investments are needed for Clean Ganga, Smart Cities and Make In India initiatives, which in turn offer tremendous opportunities". He said the government is also simplifying rules to promote engagement for building a modern India.
Two interesting sessions on the opening day deal with themes - `Bharat Ko Jaano` focusing on Indian Diaspora youth linkage with traditions, culture and philosophy, and `Bharat Ko Maano` highlighting innovations and contributions of modern India.Also speaking during the inaugural function , the British MP , Priti Patel informed the gathering that the British Prime Minister , David Cameron is keen to deepen ties with India.She said her government is going to honour Mahatma Gandhi with a statue in London this year.
Speaking later , Dr. Rashmi Das , Chairperson , World Organisation of Students & Youth highlighted the virtues of Indians as knowledge seekers and peaceful . Now under Prime Minister Modi , Indians are also acquiring the virtues of work efficiency .