Narendra Modi knows his audiences. If yesterday (when he addressed the UN General Assembly) he was serious and crisp in his address, today was his day to play to the gallery. His speech to the Indian diaspora enthralled a packed Madison Square Garden in New York. The audience also had some US senators and Congressmen in attendance.
Development, a movement: Modi began his speech by saying that India was evolving fast. He said that it is no more a nation of snake charmers but people who are running the world using a ‘mouse’. He played on his trusted ‘tea vendor’ card and assured the gathering that he was a leader for the common man.
Modi invoked the father of the nation and said that like Mahatma Gandhi made the freedom struggle a national movement, he wanted development to be taken with similar seriousness. He called on each and every citizen to do his/her bit for the country by fulfilling their roles the best of their abilities.
The 3D strategy: The Prime Minister assured the gathering that this was going to be Asia’s century and that India would be at the forefront of it. For this he talked about a three pronged strategy which would focus on democracy, demographic dividend & demand.
Modi said democracy was India’s biggest strength. Recalling his election campaign, he said that despite the scorching heat the young, old, rich and poor came to hear his speeches because they believed in it.
On demographic dividend he said, “65% of India’s population is under that age of 35.” This available work force would take India places.
The PM also said that our population could be our strength because of the demand it created in the global market. This demand automatically endeared the Indian market to the global investor.
Make in India and skill development: The recently launched ‘Make in India’ also got a mention. Modi invited businessmen from all over the world to come to India for their business needs. He assured the business community that red-tapism would be finished and that his government believed in less governance.
The Prime Minister said that skill development was a priority for his government as it would help develop next generation leaders and also increase available jobs.
Ode to Ganga: Modi said that for every Indian Ganga was sacred. He was committed to cleaning up the river despite the massive monetary challenges in store. He added that if one kept religious aspects aside, even then, cleaning Ganga was necessary from climate preservation point of view.
Endearing the NRIs: True to the buzz, there were sops in store for the NRIs. The PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card holders were assured lifelong visas. There was also a promise to merge PIO and OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) schemes soon.