Young Diaspora can play important role in building a modern & prosperous India
Gandhinagar: Following are the excerpts of the speech of the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal at “Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas” at Gandhinagar, Gujarat:
“At the outset, I would like to compliment the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for creating an excellent platform in the form of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, for engaging with the distinguished Indian Diaspora from around the world and more so, for deciding to celebrate the first day of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas as the Youth PBD.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas this year is very special, as we celebrate the centenary of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa as a Pravasi Indian. Mahatma Gandhi was 24 year-old young Indian when he first landed in South Africa and then, he led a non-violent struggle for justice in South Africa for 21 years, before finally returning to India to lead us to freedom.
The youth are indeed the most dynamic and vibrant segment of the population in any country. India is one of the youngest nations in the world, with about 65% population under 35 years of age. It is expected that by the year 2020, the population of India would have a median age of 28 years only as against 38 years for US, 42 years for China and 48 years for Japan.
The Indian Youth have always been highly talented, hard-working and enterprising. A large number of young Indians have moved to various parts of the world and have made valuable contributions. A sizeable section of Overseas Indian community comprises of highly skilled young professionals, who have been extremely successful in their respective spheres of work. Indian IT professionals command respect all over the world. Today, over a dozen top Global Corporations have Indian CEOs, including MicroSoft, Pepsico and Deutsche Bank.
Despite their success around the world, the Indian Diaspora have continued to share strong bonds with their motherland. They have continued to play an important role in supporting the India growth story in many ways. During 2013-14, the Overseas Indians sent home remittances totalling about 70 billion US Dollars, making India the global leader in terms of receipt of such remittances.
These are exciting times in India. The new Government under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji, has embarked on the mission of building a united, strong and modern India – “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”, following the principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. A number of path-breaking initiatives have been taken during last 7 months. ‘Make in India’ campaign has been launched to develop India as a global manufacturing hub. ‘Digital India’ initiative seeks to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. ‘Skill India’ is being launched to impart necessary skills to prepare Indians for the opportunities in Indian Economy as also the opportunities abroad. A number of initiatives, including Smart Cities Project, have been launched for developing infrastructure. ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and ‘Clean Ganga’ Mission have been launched for building a clean and green India.
All these initiatives of the Government require active involvement and support of all stakeholders. Huge investments will be necessary. The young Indian Diaspora can play an important role in this ambitious task of building a modern and prosperous India. The Government has also initiated various steps to facilitate this process by simplifying rules and procedures for the Overseas Indians.
My Ministry is engaged in the noble task of developing the personality and leadership qualities of the youth by involving them in community service and various nation-building activities. This is being done, inter-alia, through two youth volunteer organisations, namely, National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS). NYKS currently has 8.1 million youth volunteers enrolled through 2.85 lakh youth clubs with presence in entire rural India and NSS has 3.3 million student volunteers in senior secondary schools and colleges all over the country. In fact, NSS was started in 1969, the birth centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi had once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. In the same spirit, the Motto of NSS is “Not Me, but You”. The Overseas Indian youth willing to make contribution to various social causes can connect to these organisations and work with them. In fact, some of these volunteers are present here today. This is an opportunity for the Indian Diaspora to interact with them.
I am glad to inform that in addition to the task of developing the personality and leadership qualities of the youth, my Ministry is also conducting Post Graduate and Graduate academic courses in Sports Coaching, Sports Medicine, Physical Education, Yoga, Youth Empowerment, Gender Studies, Life Skills Education, Career Counselling and other research and doctorate programme through our reputed institutions like Sports Authority of India`s Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Trivandrum, Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior, and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development, Sriperumbudur (Tamilnadu).
India is one of the oldest civilization of the world and the world is a witness to the rich traditions and literature such as Vedas and Upanishads which speaks not only about religion but also about the human values and duties towards family and society. The tradition of joint family and family values has been kept alive in India. On this occasion, I call upon all Pravasi Bharityas to preserve the values and traditions of their forefathers who came from India to different parts of the world to spread the word of human values. Stable family makes a Stable Society and a stable society leads to a stable Nation. India has a great past and our Government has set out on the task of projecting India and its richness to the world. I take this opportunity to urge upon all young Overseas Indians to join us in this gigantic task to spread the richness, talent and values of Indian tradition to the different parts of the World.
In the end, I once again convey my best wishes to all our Overseas Indian friends and all the distinguished delegates present here. I am confident that the deliberations during the Youth PBD today will result in further strengthening our ties with our Overseas Indian friends.”