NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday stressed that his government was pursuing a mantra of “reform to transform”, and that the fruits of that effort were visible across the nation.
In his keynote address to the First PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Parliamentarian Conference on Tuesday, Modi said India was undergoing massive, ‘irreversible’ aspirational and societal changes, and leaders of Indian origin should come forward to help. “On one hand you have preserved Indian culture. On the other hand, your people have excelled in sports, arts, cinema in the global platforms and have contributed to your adopted country’s welfare,” he said.
“Your ancestors left India under various circumstances, and that is why when you land at an Indian airport, you are reminded of your ties with this country. You have a desire to return to India and I understand your feelings very well,” he told the huge gathering of lawmakers and mayors of Indian origin from 23 nations at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri.
Flanked by the top echelons of the Ministry of External Affairs—including Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and her two ministers of state, M J Akbar and Gen (retd) V K Singh—Modi said it appeared “as if a Mini World Parliament of Indian origin is gathered in Delhi today. Persons of Indian origin are today Prime Ministers of Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland, and have been Heads of State and Heads of Government in many other countries”.
Over the past three years, there has been an increasing international focus and a change of perception about India, owing to the major transformations taking place in the country, he said. The chalta hai attitude has been replaced with a go-getting attitude and radical winds of change. Owing to the “far reaching reforms” initiated by the government, India received $60 billion in FDI in 2016-17, had gone up 42 notches in the Ease of Doing Business rankings in the past three years, 32 places up in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index, 21 notches up in the Global Competitive Index and 19 notches in the Logistics performance index, he said.
“Sectors like air transport, mining, computers, electrical equipment have all seen enormous investment in the last three years. Our motto is ‘Reform to Transform’. We want transparency and freedom from corruption,” he said.