February - March 2007
Let us join hands to make India a developed nation - Kalam's appeal to Indian Diaspora
Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has exhorted Non-resident Indians (NRIs)
to work closely with India in the mission of taking the country into the league
of developed nations by 2020.
Speaking at the valedictory session of the 5th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD),
India's annual conclave to connect with its 25 million diaspora in some 130 countries,
Kalam said a great opportunity awaited overseas Indians in contributing to India's
'I request all of you to participate in this mission of 'developed India 2020'
and to make it a reality by your attitude of give, give and give of the knowledge
and experience you have gained over the years,' the president said.
'I am convinced it is possible for the country to be developed by 2020,' Kalam
declared before the 1500 members of the diaspora from 47 countries, who had gathered
here at Vigyan Bhavan.
Unveiling his ideas for close networking and connectivity, Dr Kalam, in his speech
dubbed `World Technology Platform - A Mission', mooted the idea of integrating
the core competences of partner countries to develop knowledge products and also
enable joint design, development and cost effective production and marketing
of knowledge products of various domains.
Kalam spoke at the closing ceremony of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
(PBD) meet here Tuesday evening highlighted by the presentation of the Pravasi
Bharatiya Samman to 15 distinguished overseas Indians.
Detailing his vision for India to become a developed nation by 2020, the president
envisaged the creation of two global human resources cadre -- one constituting
youth with high quality education and research while the other with world class
skills necessary for gainful employment in the manufacturing and services sector.
Congratulating the overseas Indians, Dr Kalam said that PBD-2007 integrates the
25 million overseas Indians who are constantly maintaining their umbilical connectivity
with their motherland.
e years,' the president said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, on the occasion,
announced the setting up of a single window Overseas Indian Facilitation Center
for investment advisory services.
Promising to have this center in place before PBD-2008, the minister also announced
the launching of the Central Council of Overseas Employment in the context of
overseas Indian workers.
Welcoming the new ideas that would constitute initiatives in the field of health,
education, agriculture, as well as approaches to address issues pertaining to
youth and women, Ravi said that the ministry would soon finalize a policy framework
for establishing a PIO university in a special economic zone under the UGC Act.
The President praised the overseas Indians for keeping India high in their
respective countries and also for their concern and support for their mother
spoke on his theme “World Knowledge Platform” A Mission? and provided
the overseas Indians with his vision on what he can give as a message to overseas
Indians. He asked the overseas Indians to work unitedly to alleviate the
problems of their brethren in their respective countries and work with dignity
for the success of their adopted countries. In particular, he mentioned that
large number of people of Indian origin living abroad do not have proper education
and have no opportunity to upgrade their skills. They don’t have
time to empower themselves to higher education and higher earning potential. He
proposed that while we meet annually in India, we should also select 10 places
in different parts of the world and hold a meeting at least once in two years
and invite those who cannot afford to participate on their own with their families.
Meanwhile, empowering them with education and training must commence immediately.
He spoke of launching a World Knowledge Platform to achieve this global objective
through collaboration similar to the Brahmos missile project which was
achieved in record time through an Indo-Soviet joint venture. The success
of the Brahmos project is through the shared expertise of two countries and this
product is internationally competitive and is the fastest operational
cruise missile existing in the world today and can be launched from any type
of platform: land, seas and air and precisely reach the targets either on land
or at sea with high lethal effect.
The President highlighted his vision for a Developed India by 2020. He
said if this vision is achieved then the people below poverty line will be close
to zero and our literacy rate nearly 100%. Every Indian will either have
an university degree or quality training with employable vocational skill. E-governance
would be in a position for all Government-to-Government (G2G) and Government-to-Citizen
(G2C) transactions making the governance system transparent with citizen identity
card in position. Tele-density will reach over 75%. All our villages
will be electrified. The interlinking of the rivers and water bodies will
result in equitable distribution of water in irrigation, drinking and navigation
and there will be no shortage of water. We will be using more of renewable energy
such as solar energy, wind power and thorium based nuclear energy and adding
less to the pollution. Through venture capital system and entrepreneurial
training both in schools and colleges, we will have more enterprises leading
to large number of employment generators rather than employment seekers. The
country will become a destination for world citizens coming to India for quality
affordable medical attention. The President requested all overseas Indians
to participate in this mission of Developed India 2020 and to make it a reality
by your attitude of give, give and give of the knowledge and experience that
they have gained over the years.
Fifteen overseas Indians who have distinguished themselves in different walks
of life were presented with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards. Their names
are: Dave Sukhdip Singh Hayer (Canada), Sir Moti Tikaram (Fiji), Sibabrata Roy
(Germany), P. Jayaraman, Nirmal K. Sinha, Dr. M. Anirudhan and Gopal Raju (all
from the US), Kenneth S. Benjamin (Jamaica), Pheroze Nowrojee (Kenya), Abdool
Magid Abdool Karim Vakil (Portugal), Billy Nair (South Africa), Dr. K.R. Somasundaram
(Malaysia), Syed M. Salahuddin and B.R. Shetty (UAE) and Lord Daljit Rana (United
Gopal Raju founded the New York-based India Abroad, the oldest and largest circulated
newspaper serving the Indian American community, as well as the India Abroad
News Service - that later became what is the present-day Indo-Asian News Service
He also started the Indian American Center for Political Awareness (IACPA) in
1994 to empower the community and to encourage them to participate in the political
process and public policy in the US.
Dave Sukhdip Singh Hayer has been playing an active leadership role in the community
and has held several important positions in the Canadian government. He is recognised
for his contributions in the field of public service.
Sir Moti Tikaram was the first Fijian of Indian origin to be appointed as a judge
of that country's Supreme Court in 2000. He is recognised for his outstanding
achievements in the field of legal and juridical services and for his contribution
to the community.
Sibabrata Roy: As president of the German-India Society, Hamburg, Sibabrata Roy
has actively promoted Indian culture and tradition in Germany. Roy is a community
leader of outstanding repute.
P. Jayaraman is the founder director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan USA and has
promoted Indian culture and education in the US. He has been teaching Hindi and
Sanskrit and has authored several books on Indian languages and literature.
Nirmal K. Sinha played an important role in mobilising support of prominent American
leaders in favour of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. He has been extensively
involved in community activities, served on the board of the National Federation
of Indian Associations and as president of the Asian Indian-American Business
Dr. M. Anirudhan is a prominent businessman in the field of nutrition and has
also actively promoted Indo-US ties. His roles as a director of the National
Federation of Indian Associations, as founding director of the US-India Chamber
of Commerce of Mid-West, and as director of the Chicago Red Cross Society have
won him recognition as a leader of the community.
Kenneth S. Benjamin: an eminent businessman, diplomat, environmentalist and art
lover, has been actively promoting Indian culture in Jamaica. He is recognised
for his business and political acumen and his role in enhancing understanding
of India in the Caribbean region.
Pheroze Nowrojee: A multifaceted personality, Pheroze Nowrojee is one of the
most respected members of the Parsi community from India and one of the most
successful attorneys in Kenya. He is chairman of the Asian Heritage Foundation
and has been actively involved in cultural activities related to migration of
Indians to Kenya in particular and Africa in general.
Dr Abdool Magid Abdool Karim Vakil: A leading banker and economist, Dr. Abdool
Magid Abdool Karim Vakil has served on the boards of several important public
sector undertakings of Portugal. He has been very active in the Portuguese Islamic
community and is known for his secular and modern approach. Vakil has been decorated
by the Portuguese government with several awards.
Billy Nair has been a champion in the fight against apartheid and in protecting
the interests of people of Indian origin in KwaZulu Natal Province. He spent
20 years in prison on Robben Island.
Tan Sri Dato Dr. K.R Somasundram:
Dr. K.R. Somasundaram major contributions include service in the Indian National
Army during 1944-1945 and in the Malaysian Indian Congress from 1947 to 1960.
He served as a senator in the Malaysian parliament and devoted much of his life
for the well being of the plantation workers through the National Land Finance
Cooperative Society, which he was instrumental in founding.
Syed M. Salahuddin:
Highly regarded in the community, Syed M. Salahuddin has promoted India's interest
in the UAE. He has supported sports and cultural activities in the UAE and has
made significant contribution towards the construction of the Indian Social and
Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi.
The first Asian to receive the prestigious Abu Dhabi Order Award instituted by
the Abu Dhabi government besides several other awards. He was also instrumental
in the setting up of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi.
Lord Daljit Rana:
Lord Daljit Rana was made a Member of the British Empire in 1996 and was appointed
to the House of Lords in 2004 for his contribution to the peace process in Northern
Ireland. He is recognised for furthering India's interests and for enhancing
the understanding of India.
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