Opening Remarks of Shri Rajnath Singh Union Home Minister at the CMs Session on Investment Opportunities in States
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2015
I welcome the honourable chief ministers of all the states participating in this session of the 13th ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan’. I take this opportunity to applaud the hard work, dedication and determination displayed by the 25 million strong Indian diaspora that has earned global respect for its work culture, discipline and successful integration with the local community. You are truly an embodiment of ‘The Indomitable Spirit of India’ of which we are all proud of.
It was exactly one hundred years ago from today that the brightest beacon of Truth and Non-violence in modern times – Mahatma Gandhi – returned to India from South Africa. As you all know, Gandhiji’s epoch-making return to India shaped the country’s struggle for Independence.
Mahatma Gandhi believed that political freedom would lead to the social and economic transformation and cultural revival of the country. Gandhiji’s call for ‘Khadi’ and ‘Swadeshi’ were an attempt to deal with the problems of shortages in the economy and create a sense of confidence among the people. ‘Swaraj’ would be incomplete without ‘Swadeshi’ – which in a broad sense signifies economic vitality of our country.
When Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India he also had to deal with the problems of shortages in our economy. He was successful in transforming our economy from an ‘economy of shortages’ to an economy which was self-reliant. He made ‘Good Governance and Development’ the biggest priority of his government and he ensured people’s participation in this endeavour. It was the vision of Shri Atalji to connect with the Indians living abroad which fructified as this annual meet and the first ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ was organized in 2003. This event marks the historical importance of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to his motherland and the success of ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas’ lies in rekindling the spirit of ‘Bharatiyata’ in every ‘Pravasi’.
Mahatma Gandhi assertion that “True ‘Bharat’ is to be found not in its few cities, but in its seven hundred thousand villages” is true even today in its spirit. On the one hand rapid growth in urbanisation has created new opportunities in the cities and on the other hand our villages cannot be left behind. The process of development has to reach the far flung areas of our country and even our villages in the remotest areas should be brought within its ambit. If we fail to develop our rural areas it would create a sense alienation and distress among the major sections of our society.
India’s potential to prosper lies in the growth of its villages, cities and States and Union Territories. From spinning India’s textile success to harnessing information technology for good governance, from leading in conventional and renewable energy to exploring exciting vistas in tourism, every success of the state has added to the nation’s strength and prestige. And this is the reason why today’s session on ‘Investment Opportunities in States’ holds a special significance.
In democracy we follow the dictum of ‘collective wisdom’ and ‘collective responsibility’. No state is an island itself and there has to be an active cooperation and connection among all the states and also between the Centre and States. We are here to share our ideas and experiences on how this great nation can lead to a path of more progress and prosperity.
There could be difference of opinion on how to pursue our national goals but I am confident that our collective wisdom will definitely help us in overcoming all our differences and outlining the future course of this great country.
We are here to deliberate on economic issues and opportunities present before us. There are certain challenges facing the economy and the country but we have to put up a collective fight against these odds. India as a nation is not a ‘Lifeless Idea’ but it is a ‘Living Organism’ which comprises of a body and soul. It gets adversely affected if one of its organs malfunctions. Therefore regional imbalances and lopsided development are major problems which need to be addressed on priority for a healthy and equitable growth in this country.
As a ‘Federal Polity’ India offers a unique opportunity to all the states to pursue its agenda for development and governance with the active support from the Centre. India today demands greater impetus to ‘Cooperative Federalism’ than the ‘Competitive Federalism’. The Centre and the states need to work together in one direction to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of its people.
The new government headed by Shri Narendra Modi at the Centre has taken a series of measures to re-ignite the economy. We have reasons to be optimistic as we are constantly making course corrections to gain investor confidence. The Government has taken a number of policy measures to stabilize the economy and restart the engine of our economic growth.
Our Government is focused on infrastructure development and a number of new road and rail projects have been taken up, including priority to completion of projects already announced. Projects of metro rail and high speed rail systems are being structured on fast track. Industrial hubs and smart cities are being given planned. We are seriously pursuing early implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will create a buoyant source of revenue and place the fiscal position on a permanently solid footing and serve to make India more of a common market by eliminating internal barriers to trade.
We are focusing on bringing transparency in allocation of natural resources including coal blocks, iron ore and other minerals as well in time to come. In particular e-auction of coal blocks and the recent amendments to the Mines & Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act will bring more transparency, competitiveness and efficiency in the system. Through these measures we have been able to rebuild confidence and trust that is extremely important to revive investments and drive higher growth.
In his Independence Day Speech the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi gave us a vision and exhorted investors from all corners of the globe to come and ‘Make in India’. The “Make in India” initiative was launched in the background of a stagnating manufacturing sector and increasing levels of unemployment among the youth. ‘Make in India’ is a mission to transform this country from an importer of manufactured items to an exporter of manufactured products. India has a vast pool of natural resources and skilled human resources to make this country a ‘New Manufacturing Hub’. The people of Indian origin and the NRIs should invest in actualising the dream of ‘Make in India’.
The Prime Minster is focussed on improving the business environment in the country. He has stressed on improving the business conditions and drew the attention towards the mantra of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’. The vision at the root of this transformational endeavour is ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. It naturally encompasses all of the Union of India, including all of its States.
In order to improve the global perception about difficulties in doing business in India the Centre is working tirelessly to remove the bottlenecks and busy cutting the red tape. There was never a better time to invest in the country that is determined to take its rightful place in the comity of nations. Today, I exhort the people of Indian origin to come and invest in this great country and become an active partner in our definitive march towards prosperity and in making India a global superpower.
The government under the astute leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Bhai Modi is committed to resolve all the key issues facing the people of Indian origin. Addressing the concerns of our overseas brothers and sisters the Prime Minister announced that all PIO card holders will enjoy life long visa and exemption from police reporting. Now the government has issued an ordinance merging both PIO and OCI cards giving way to an improved scheme where they can enjoy life long visa facility and other benefits pertaining to citizenship.
Before I take my seat, and we all listen to our Chief Ministers on the opportunities in their respective States, I sincerely thank the organisers for giving me the honour to chair this session. I thank you all for your attention, and look forward to interesting presentations on the remarkable opportunities in our States.