Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, today called upon the Indian youth diaspora to ‘connect, celebrate and contribute’ to the transformational change being witnessed in India in the making of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’.
Inaugurating the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Swaraj said, “The Indian youth diaspora can become ambassadors of the ‘new’ India as “you have retained a bit of India in your heart and each one of you have a bit of ‘Bharat’ in you.” Reminiscing the journey of the two back to back events, PBD and Vibrant Gujarat Summit, the minister said, “Both Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the PBD began in the same year, 2003, when the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee announced hosting of the PBD, and the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi announced hosting of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.”
She added that in the last twelve years, these two events have never come together. “This is the first time it is happening, as this time the PBD is celebrating the centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa. With Gujarat hosting the PBD, its glory has doubled,” Swaraj said adding that for the last few years Narendra Modi has been asking the Centre to host the PBD in Gujarat in 2015.
Praising the state government for hosting the PBD in such a grand manner, Swaraj said, “One of the domes is entirely designed to showcase ‘brand Gandhi’. I urge every participant of the PBD to also visit the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.”
The Minister also felt that the Youth PBD was not just about interacting with the young people of this country but has emerged as an important platform for the diaspora to discover and nurture their roots.She appealed to the youth to connect with the young generation of Indians; over 50 per cent of the Indian people were under 25 years.
“What excites the world today is India’s growth story,” Swaraj said as she pointed to the government’s success in bringing about a complete transformation of the business sentiment in the country. This, she added, was the outcome of the numerous steps undertaken by the government to improve the ease of doing business.
Swaraj said the diaspora could contribute significantly to the development of India through programmes such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, creation of smart cities and other physical infrastructure.
Speaking on the occasion, Gujarat chief minister, Anandiben Patel said that the two events will showcase the strength and development of Gujarat as well as India. “The Vibrant Gujarat Summit and the Global Trade Show is making all efforts to fulfill Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ dream. We don’t want this trade show to remain only as a B2B meeting, rather it should ignite new vision, new tradition among the youth.”
In his address, Sarbananda Sonowal, minister of state (independent charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, suggested that overseas youth organisations could connect and coordinate their activities with India’s National Service Scheme (NSS) to make a mark in India’s education and social sector space.
Sonowal said that young Indians have made valuable contributions in different spheres in their host countries. The diaspora has strong links with India and continue to support India’s developmental efforts. This is evidenced by the annual remittances which are placed at $ 70 billion annually, he said adding that the young diaspora would chip in with their contribution to the huge investment that was required to make the government’s new initiatives a success.