Hailing the 31.2-million strong Indian diaspora spread around the world as the indispensable component in India’s growth story, the prime minister and president of India have exhorted the overseas Indian community to spur India’s development and economic renaissance.
“We are also at the cusp of New India – an India that will achieve certain milestones for our people by 2022, when we celebrate the 75th year of our Independence,” President Ram Nath Kovind said at the People of India Origin (PIO) Parliamentarian Conference in New Delhi on January 10. The conference was organised by Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad in association with the PIO Chamber of Commerce and Industry and India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
In his address at PIO conference on January 9, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined some of the initiatives and achievements of this government in recent times, including the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the improvement in India’s ranking in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index. The record $60 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow in India in 2016-17 was also held up as an example of the success of India’s development initiatives.
“You must have felt a major transformation in India in the last three-four years. The outlook towards India has changed. The focus on us has increased, perception of the world towards us is also changing. India has come far ahead of that era when the thinking was nothing will change in India,” the prime minister said. He also mentioned the important position of the NRIs in the Action Agenda till 2020, drafted by the NITI Aayog.
The two events were held to mark the celebration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas or the Indian Diaspora Day, commemorating the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915. The conference is being attended by 124 parliamentarians and 17 Mayors of Indian origin from 23 countries. With the world’s second largest diaspora, enhancing engagement with the Indian diaspora has been a major foreign policy focus of the Modi government. There are about 13 million PIOs and some 17 million Non-Resident Indians or NRIs.
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