Media Center Media Center

Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Inauguration of Youth PBD

January 21, 2019

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,
Shri Yogi Adityanath ji,
Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for
Youth Affairs and Sports,
Shri Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore ji,
Special Guest,
His Excellency Shri Himanshu Gulati ji, Member of Parliament from Norway,
Guest of Honour,
His Excellency Shri Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi ji, Member of Parliament from New Zealand,
Minister of State for NRI, Uttar Pradesh,
Smt. Swati Singh
Hon’ble Pravasi Bharatiya Members of Parliaments & Indian Members of Parliament,
Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay Ji,
Dignitaries from foreign countries and India,
Senior Officials, Delegates,
Young overseas Indians from
Know India Programmes,

My young friends, you must be knowing that India has the largest diaspora in the world at almost 31 million, it is 3.1 crores and this diaspora is spread throughout the globe. However, what marks all of you is the shared common identity and what is that, Indian-ness, and a shared common origin, what is that, India, the land of your forefathers.

Here it is to celebrate these shared bonds that we all have gathered here. My young friends, the story of your forefathers’ journey to distant shores is a tale brimming with courage, enterprise and character. In ancient times, they left the Indian shores as traders, monks, teachers and temple builders. But in the time of the British Empire, they were sent to distant lands as indentured labor to work in the sugar, tea and rubber plantations.

They worked on lands as far apart as Fiji and Mauritius, Suriname and Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Burma, Guyana and Malaysia. The next wave of emigration saw Indian entrepreneurs and traders sailing fearlessly into uncharted waters for unknown countries. Since the 70's, young Indian professionals have been migrating abroad to corporate boardrooms, research laboratories, engineering workshops and university faculties. We have seen the growing emigration of doctors, nurses, engineers, managers, plumbers, and electricians to West Asia and the Gulf. Today, we have people of Indian origin, as heads of the state and heads of the government, and as heads of large multi-national corporations, raising India's global profile.

The success of each and every one of our emigrants is a testimonial to their unbeatable spirit, their dedication, and their patience and forbearance in the face of extreme hardships.

Friends, while the Indian diaspora started migrating centuries ago, it is the migration of the educated, highly skilled and dynamic young Indians that has brought laurels to India. Today, many of the multi-national corporations are headed by young Indian origin CEOs. Whether it is Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ajay Banga of Mastercard, or Geeta Gopinath of IMF – it is indisputable that Indians are leading the world today. Our diaspora has dramatically changed the world’s perception of Indians, and of India as well. They have kindled a new wave of appreciation for this land which has produced and exported so many achievers. The benchmarks for success, which the Pravasi community has set, is a motivation for us in India.

They encourage us to create a business, investment and economic climate, which is as conducive to success as anywhere else in the world.

Friends, to recognize the importance we place on engaging with our youth diaspora, we decided to start the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas along with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in 2015. This Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is not only about discovering your roots, and appreciating your heritage, but it is also about learning how you can be a part of India’s development journey towards a New India. We would like to create an environment in India that will enable you to have the conviction that you and your children can excel in this country as much as you could anywhere else in the world. Whether you are looking for affordable quality education or tech start-ups, India offers limitless opportunities.

Earlier, some of you and your forefathers left India in search of better opportunities for higher education. Today, the education sector in India has become very lucrative for your children to pursue higher education in India. India today is home to some of the best world-class university infrastructures and R&D capacities such as IITs and IIMs.

Along with high-quality education, we want India to be a hub for high-end Research & Development capacities. We have started various programs such as VAJRA, GIAN and Mission Shodh Ganga to enable overseas scientific community to conduct high-end research and development in India.

We have also increased the scope for the NRIs and OCI card holders to conduct better Research in Indian Institutions & Universities. Today, India has over 41% of its 1.3 billion population below 20 years of age. I would like you to contribute to the Higher Education and Research and Development sectors with your technical expertise and knowledge sharing, and help India harness its huge demographic dividend. Presently, about 7.5 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher education in research and innovation abroad. To address their grievances, we have constituted an Expert Group comprising Ambassadors of Foreign Missions in Delhi, where majority of our students are pursuing higher education. We have held two meetings in 2018. The recommendations of this meeting are currently being considered.

Every week, we come across stories on Indian youngsters, making news in foreign countries with exciting achievements in academic and non-academic spheres. Reading about their journeys and odds that they have faced is quite inspirational and gives us the hope that the citizens of the future have the potential to make the world better. During the last four and a half years, we have taken several measures to safeguard emigration of Indian workers under the motto "Surakshit Jaaye, Prasikshit Jaaye". We made online registration of foreign employers mandatory in 2015 to streamline overseas recruitment procedures and introduce safeguards into the migration cycle. Grievances, complaints and petitions of the Indian migrant workers are being addressed online through e-Migrate and MADAD. We are taking strict action against illegal and fraudulent recruitment agents, who are cheating Indian workers seeking overseas employment.

We have an Indian Community welfare fund for carrying out welfare activities for distressed overseas Indians. We are strengthening the entire ecosystem of our administrative arrangements and our embassies and my colleagues are proactively reaching out on social media to solve your problems in real time basis.

Friends, today we have pioneered the use of digital platforms and social media to actively enhance our outreach to the Indian Diaspora. Today we are present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, SoundCloud and Flick as well as Linkedln. We are disseminating real time information about our bilateral and international relations and official engagements, and creating awareness and understanding about India’s foreign policy issues through the use of social media. We are using various other tools like Podcasts and digital magazine to enhance our access to the diaspora youth. Our "MEA App” mobile application has brought all the websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach.

Our embassies have been proactive on the digital media, providing consular help and guidance. Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, help is just a message away from any Indian National in distress.

Our passport has become a security cover for our Indian diaspora. Ek tweet keejiye, just 140 characters, raat ke 12:00 baje keejiye, subah tadke 3:00 baje keejiye, dopahar ke 4:00 baje keejiye, 24 ghante ke andar andar aapka samadhaan hota hai, isiliye maine kaha hai, Help is Just One Tweet Away.

My friends, many of your forefathers and ancestors migrated out of India generations ago. To reconnect their descendants to their origins and cultural heritage, we have several initiatives in place.

Know India Program (KIP), through which many of you are visiting India presently, is one such scheme that aims to give you a flavor of India and provide a platform for interaction with policy makers, industry and civil society.

Is program mein KIP ke bahut participants aaye hain aur is baar hum pachaasawan edition manaa rahe hain to hamara golden jubilee celebration bhi hai. Jitne 50 edition hue sabse ek-ek Know India Program ka participant humne bulaye hain aur wo 50 participants yahan alag se baithe hain. Ye hamara bahut hi pyara kaaryakram hai, bahar se bachhon ko hum bulaate hain, PIOs ke bachhon ko bulaate hain aur wo yahan aakar 25 din ghoomte hain. Kisi partner state ko hum saath mei lete hain aur ye bachhe hain to itna jyada abhibhoot hokar ke aapke saamne cheers kar rahe they.

This program reconnects you with Indian roots, culture and heritage. We have organized 49 editions of this program so far. I am happy to note that the participants of the 50th KIP or the Golden Jubilee Edition, as also 51st and 52nd KIP are also participating in the PBD Convention.

Another initiative, Bharat Ko Janiye (Know India) Quiz program which Prime Minister had launched for young overseas Indians is another initiative which has received tremendous response. Over 40,000 overseas Indians participated in the 2nd edition of this quiz. The winners will receive the medals from Hon’ble Prime Minister tomorrow during the inauguration of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention. We have also organized seven conferences in 2018 to have a sustained dialogue with our diaspora experts on issues of relevance.

One such conference was on "Engagement with younger members of Indian Diaspora”. I am happy that the outcomes of that Conference will be discussed in the first plenary session here today. We not only want to connect our youth diaspora to their ancestral land of India, and to teach them to take pride in their history and civilizational heritage, but most importantly, we also want to engage you to participate in transforming India.

Friends, as I told you earlier India is one of the youngest countries in the world, with more than half of its billion population under 35 years of age.

By 2020, the average age in India will be 29, making it the world’s youngest country with 64% of the population in the working age group. While countries like US, Western Europe, Japan and even China are ageing rapidly, India is getting younger and younger.

By 2022, these ageing countries will become super-aged with over one-third of their population over 65 years of age, while India will have the world’s largest working population. This demographic prospective offers India an unprecedented edge, which could further contribute to building a New Young India by 2022.

Friends, it is projected that India will be the source of skilled manpower to the world by 2022. Our Skill India initiative is aimed towards making India ready to become the Skill capital of the world by 2022. We have the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana which aims to enhance the skills of Indian youth, who seek overseas employment.

Our aim is to not just export "man-power” to the world, but to export "skills”. Exporting "skilled” manpower will not only garner a better image for India on the global space, but will also lead to better salaries and better remittances, thus raising India’s GDP further.

My young friends, through your talent and skill, you can benefit from immense opportunities that are arising with India’s fast paced development and transformation.

India is now a land of innovation and start-ups. Contribution of Indian diaspora in technical field is exemplary. Nearly 16% of startups in Silicon Valley had an Indian co-founder. The figure for Indian startups is even higher in some areas such as business software. We can partner in building an infrastructure for skill development which will contribute to greater employment in India as well as abroad. India is now recognized as one of the leading countries in science and technology. India has garnered world prestige in fields like Supercomputing to Space Technology. Rapid technological advancement has to be matched up with training and education infrastructure.

In the last four and a half years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the Government has dismantled lots of rules and regulations and further opened up India’s investment regime. We consider you as members of our extended family and overseas Indians have been assigned a special place in the action agenda prepared for India’s development till 2020 by NITI Aayog.

We have launched a number of flagship program to achieve our developmental objectives. The Smart Cities Mission; the Digital India; the Skill India; the Start Up India; the Swachh Bharat Campaign are all part of our efforts to realize the dream of a prosperous, skillful, enterprising, clean and futuristic India. We want you to partner with us to realize that dream.

At the Youth PBD you will also have an opportunity to meet and interact with the young students, who have come here from all over India and especially from colleges and universities in Varanasi. I invite you to visit the Exhibition at the PBD convention which showcases the flagship program, state governments’ initiatives; and Indian craft and cultural bazaar, and see for yourself the exciting story that India has to offer.

Before I conclude, let me take this opportunity, on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs, to place my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Government of Uttar Pradesh for their support in making this event possible.

Main aap sabka dobara bahut-bahut swagat karti hoon, hriday se abhinandan karti hoon aur aaj ke is kaaryakram ko safal banaane mein sabse badi bhoomika aap logon ki hai, isliye aap sabko mera haath jodkar abhivaadan.


Disclaimer: This is Prepared text of External Affairs Minister's Address.

January 21, 2019

Post A Comment

  • Name *
    E-mail *
  • Write Your Comment *
  • Verification Code * Verification Code