Varanasi | Asserting that India is going through a transformation of “unprecedented scale”, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday asked NRIs and Indian-origin people to become a part of the country’s growth story and change the “brain-drain” of the past to the “brain-gain” of the present.
Kovind, while delivering the valedictory address on the third and the final day of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, said the India of today is a land of billion ideas and billion opportunities.
He said the last few years have seen a sea-change in the way India engages with its people abroad.
“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has worked hard to connect its 1.3 billion people with its 31-million-strong diaspora,” Kovind said.
India is going through a transformation of unprecedented scale and the Indian story today is one of inclusivity and progress, he said in the presence of Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The president also presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. Indian-American IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath, Norwegian MP Himanshu Gulati and South African diplomat Anil Sooklal were among the 30 NRIs, Indian-origin people and their organisations named for the honour.
In his address, Kovind said that from economic growth to economic reforms, from women emancipation to women empowerment, from health for all to total sanitation, and from space mission to the digital revolution, India was leading the way on many fronts.
“Our socio-economic achievements are helping the Sustainable Development Goals, and our growth, powering the global economic engine,” he said.
India has put itself at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, and through the International Solar Alliance, it was also leading the world in combating climate change, Kovind said.
“India, today, is a land of billion ideas. India, today, is a land of billion opportunities. I invite each one of you to become a part of India’s growth story which is being etched by its billion minds,” he said.
India wants to leverage the NRI and PIOs’ technology, know-how and investment to power Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Skill India programmes, he said.
“We want to change the brain-drain of yesterday to brain-gain of today. I once again call upon you to contribute and partner us in the New India that we are committed to build and to become a part of India’s history in making,” the president said.
Noting that the Indian diaspora is among the largest in the world, Kovind urged them to preserve and strengthen their unity as a community.
“We count each one of you as our cultural ambassador. You are the face of India and its identity abroad. We are, indeed, proud of you and your achievements,” the president said.
He said that the ease of living abroad for the people from India was a priority with Indian embassies and consulates available round the clock to help those in need.
“We remain deeply committed to the safety and security of the Indian community abroad. In the last four years, our government has rescued over 90,000 Indians caught in political strife or natural disasters. We have also facilitated the return of over 94,000 Indians during Amnesty schemes in the Gulf countries,” Kovind said.
Adityanath, speaking at the closing session here, said India is emerging as an economic superpower under the leadership of Modi.
In her remarks, Swaraj said the event was a success and its scale was much bigger than the previous editions.
A unique feature this year is that the delegates will also be taken to Kumbh in Prayagraj and from there to Delhi to witness the Republic Day Parade, she said.
The event came to a close this evening after three days of deliberations, brainstorming and felicitations involving NRIs and PIOs.