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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: PM Modi invites Indian diaspora to join Clean Ganga campaign

More than 4,000 delegates have arrived for the 13th PBD, the world's largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Updated: January 9, 2015 10:01:19 am
Narendra Modi, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Modi Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Modi NRIs Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attempted to broaden the Clean Ganga campaign by getting the Indian diaspora involved. Inaugurating the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Mahatma Mandir, Modi said the economic development of 40 per cent of the country’s population “is connected with Maa Ganga”.

Modi also described himself as a “Pravasi Gujarati (non-resident Gujarati)” welcoming the “Pravasi Bharati”. He said that earlier, Indian immigrants went abroad looking for opportunities, but today, that situation had changed drastically. “In the global context today, India had huge strength and capital,” he said.

Giving an example of how “the world was waiting to embrace India”, Modi said that when he made a passing suggestion in his speech at the United Nations that there should be an international yoga day, it was co-sponsored by 177 of 193 member countries of the UN. “Of these, 40 were Muslim countries and it was the fastest executed decision in less than 100 days,” said Modi.

“Like environment, cleanliness and spirituality, it is also a subject of economic development for me,” said Modi, adding, “Economic development of states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal can be done through development and cleaning of Maa Ganga. In fact, economic development of 40 per cent of India’s population is connected with Maa Ganga,” he said.

Modi said that Mauritius had built an artificial lake, Gangasagar, named after the river, by transporting some of its water there. Modi also said that a “Namami Gange” fund had been launched, for which people from across the world could contribute.
About 4,000 NRIs from 58 countries are attending the three-day event.

Announcing the various decisions his government had taken to ease travel for the Indian diaspora, Modi obliquely referred to the US having denying him a visa for nearly a decade. “Aap jaante hain aapko kya kya takleef jhelni padti hai?… Main jaanta hoon (Do you know what problems you have to face to get a visa? I know.”

Started in 2003 by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi said the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was celebrated regularly “except a period in between when…”. He then trailed off, with a gesture to indicate that it had gone slow, amid laughter from the audience. Elaborating on this period, referring to the UPA regime, Modi said, “You all also did not feel like coming… some came because they had to.”


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