A20 PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS 2014 India Abroad January 17, 2014
Iam delighted to extend to all of you a very warm wel- come on the occasion of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. I am glad that, once again, the New Year is beginning with a celebration of the emotional, spiritual, economic and family ties that bind the expatriate
Indian community to the motherland. This year, we welcome particularly the younger generation among the expatriates. Their presence in our midst gives a special resonance to this year’s theme of connecting across generations.
Our chief guest this year is Datuk Seri G Palanivel, federal minister for natural resources & environment of the
Republic of Malaysia and president of the Malaysian
Indian Congress. He embodies the ideas that bring us
together for Pravasiya Bharatiya Diwas. Not only does he
have an outstanding record of public service and personal
accomplishments, he also represents a vibrant Indian community, which has made an immense contribution to
Malaysia’s progress and served as an effective bridge of
understanding and friendship between India and Malaysia.
Ours are two pluralist democracies that have many common interests in their shared neighborhood and have built
a strong partnership in the last decade. We are delighted,
Datuk Seri Palanivel, to have you with us today.
It is not only the size of the Indian expatriate community
as the world’s second largest, but also your achievements
that give you a very significant global profile. The Indian
community’s contribution to India has also been invaluable
— from the workers who labor abroad to support their fam-
ilies and communities at home; the professionals who
share the fruits of their skills for India’s development; the
entrepreneurs who bring investments into and promote
exports from India; and the community leaders who inter-
pret India for the world and advance its interests abroad.
We on our part will continue to support and assist you,
and promote your links with India in every possible way. It
was for this purpose that, when our government came to
power, we established the ministry of overseas Indian
affairs. We have also recently launched the Mahatma
Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana to provide social security
to Indian workers abroad.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi will be completed
We also intend to start a scheme to assist state governments in establishing Pravasi Bharatiya Bhawans.
I compliment the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and
my colleague Shri Vayalar Ravi for these initiatives.
On this occasion, I would also like to record my appreciation for the work of the ministry of external affairs and the
ministry of overseas Indian affairs, as also the government
of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for successfully addressing
the challenges that more than a million Indian workers
faced following changes in Saudi Arabia’s labor policies. As
always, our objective is to support our emigrant communities and I hope this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas will
again provide an opportunity to discuss how we can forge a
more productive partnership.
I know that many of you have questions about the future
of the Indian economy and concerns about social challenges, the shape of our polity and the issues of governance
in our country. There is a perception in some quarters outside India that the country is losing its momentum of the
past decade. This is also amplified by the political contestations here in India, which are inevitably louder in the election season that is now on the horizon. I wish to assure you
that there is no reason to despair about our present or
worry about our future. Indeed, as I have said earlier, we
are heading into better times ahead and I would urge you
to remain engaged in the future of this country with confidence and optimism.
Let me make five broad points to bolster this argument.
First, regardless of the outcome of the next elections, they
will once again demonstrate to the world the strength of
our democracy and our institutions, and the enduring
nature of these ideals that constitute the bedrock for our
nation’s progress and our quest for a life of opportunity,
justice and equity for all citizens of our diverse country.
Recent developments point to the greater enrichment of
our democracy, which is becoming more participative and
interactive, with people using both traditional methods
and new digital tools to mobilize and communicate. It is
especially encouraging to see our youth from all walks of
life not only articulate their expectations and aspirations,
but take actively to politics to shape their future. This is
only to be welcomed.
It is only thus that the extraordinary transformation that
is taking place in our country on multiple levels can be dis-
tilled constructively into our democratic process, which has
the vitality and responsiveness to reflect the new and
emerging concerns and hopes and aspirations of our peo-
ple. I am confident and so should you be that the future of
our country as a pluralistic democracy is safe and secure.
Second, our economy has done well over the past decade.
In the nine years since 2004, we averaged a healthy growth
rate of 7.9 percent per annum. There has been no doubt a
slow down in the recent past, and we will probably end this
year at the same level as last year with 5 percent growth. A
number of international as well as domestic factors have
contributed to this situation. Despite these challenges,
our economic fundamentals remain strong. Our savings
and investment rates are still over 30 percent of our GDP
and the entrepreneurial spirit in India is very much alive
In recent months, we have also taken a very wide range of
decisions to accelerate the implementation of mega infra-
the future of this country’
India is changing in a way that is significant, but not always evident to those who do not see the big picture
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurates the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, left,
and Jitendra Singh, minister of state for youth affairs and sports, look on.
PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU