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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
17-November-2014 17:55 IST
English Rendering of the Text of PM’s address to Indian community at Allphones Arena, Sydney

I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land on which we stand today and pay my respect to their elders in past and present.

Greetings to all those present here, all the social and political dignitaries and my fellow countrymen,

Modi is undeserving of this warm welcome, respect, enthusiasm and vigour. Those deserving it are the 1.25 crore countrymen. I dedicate this welcome, respect and love to those countrymen. I can still see people waiting outside who were unable to make it inside. This vision in Sydney is revolutionising the entire country.

When I recall Swami Vivekanand's words, I can't imagine how foresighted he was! Before India gained its independence - 50 years prior to India's independence, to be precise - Swami Vivekanand had urged the people of India to forget their deities of god and goddesses for the next 50 years. This coming from an ascetic (sanyasi) who had always led a very spiritual life, a man who had dedicated his life in the service of his guru Ramkrishna Paramhans, the one for whom God was the sole purpose of life. 50 years prior to India's independence a man of his stature making a statement that said for the next 50 years you have to forget worshipping the deities of Gods and Goddesses and only worship Mother India instead. Make the world sing praises of Mother India once again. And look at the power of his words! Exactly 50 years after his speech, India got its independence.

Like me, there are many others who were born in an independent India. And it is my good fortune that I am the first Prime Minister of the nation to have been born in independent India as that doubles up my sense of responsibility towards my country. There are many amongst us here today who like me were born in a free nation and didn't get the opportunity to contribute to the freedom struggle. We were not fortunate enough to sacrifice our lives to free the nation from the evil clutches of the rulers. We weren't lucky enough to have exhausted the vigour of our youth behind the bars for India's pride and respect. And it is hence that we should rue the fact that we couldn't contribute to the war of independence. We couldn't die for the country, but having been born post-independence we should strive to live a life that serves our country. It is not everyone's luck to sacrifice their lives in the service of their country. However, it is definitely possible to live life in a manner that makes the country proud. We should strive for the country. This is the feeling that 1.25 crore Indians now share.

Nowadays, you can reach Australia from India within the span of one night but it has taken the Indian Prime Minister 28 years to reach here! I have come here to assure the Indians living in Australia that they wouldn't have to wait for another 28 years ever again. The Indians living in Australia have equal rights to the Indians living in India. Sydney is a beautiful city and Australia is a beautiful country. Neither Australia nor India can shun their love for the game of cricket which has served as the common link between the two countries. But apart from the sport, India and Australia are bonded by the same set of values the two nations share which are a result of the shared cultural heritage and historical events. Both the nations are a democracy and the democratic governments are respected around the globe now. Indian leaders have always been foresighted enough to have preached the power of democracy which is perhaps why the democratic ethos are so deeply founded in India and also the reason why I stand here, delivering this speech today. If every Indian realises the power of democracy and decides to dedicate his life towards the service of the nation, the nation too will go out of the way to ensure the individual's success.

Our religious texts often talk about certain Gods with a 1000 hands but have we ever wondered whether they stick those arms to their sides or is it only a metaphor for the 500 people the 'God' employed and the resulting 1000 hands that executed his plans and ensured they were fulfilled. May be the Gods had 1000 hands, but Mother India had 250 crore hands. 250 crore of which 200 crore hands are below 35 years of age. India is young and filled with a population of youth. The youth are filled with hopes and dreams, they have good intentions and a strong resolve that can even carve a niche of their own. And it is with the power of this youth, that I promise to fulfil Swami Vivekanand's vision - his second dream. The same man whose vision of India 50 years down the line had come true had a vision of an India that re-establishes herself as the superpower that it once was, leading the world in its wake - India that would be capable of fulfilling world's dreams and desires. I believe in Swami Vivekanand's foresighted vision of India and I can tell with utmost belief that he wasn't being ambitious when he said so. I say this with a belief that I have experienced an energy that our nation is filled with, in the mere 6 months of my governance. 6 months is a mere blink of a time in a country as vast as India. But from what I have seen in this period, I can confidently say that Mother India is capable of reaching the heights and fulfilling the needs of every individual in the country. And today I question you if you share my belief? Do you believe that we have it in us to rise once again? That we can be a superpower and serve humanity to the best of our potential? Can we rid the world off its problems? It is the conviction of your words that becomes the words of the Almighty. My dear brothers and sisters, I see no reason why our country should lag behind now. Its fate has been sealed and the destiny has decided to take the country towards progress. Now, all the 250 crore hands have to decide that whatever they do will have to contribute towards India's and its population's success. It will be for those suffering around the globe. If we pledge for these things, they will be fulfilled on their own.

200 years ago, only a few Indian families had migrated to Australia but today the lifestyle of Indians living in Australia is a matter of pride for India. We have made Australia ours! I believe it is your speech, behaviour, thoughts and beliefs that every citizen of Australia feels connected to India. It should be our duty towards our country - wherever we reside and make a living - to make it our own and strive for its success as we would for our own country. This is the kind of dedication I see in the Indians living in Australia.

Before coming here, I was watching a few things which left me very proud and though I can't mention all of them here, please forgive for not mentioning them here. During the Olympic Games of 1964 that were held in Tokyo, Bakhtawar Singh Samrai of Indian origin had led the Australian team. I don't think it to be an easy feat for an Indian to represent Australia on a global platform. Not just that, a large number of Anglo-Indians also resides in Australia who came from India and have settled down here. Julian Pearce was born in Jabalpur, India and represented Australia in hockey in the Olympic Games. Rex Sellers and Stuart Clark were also Anglo-Indians who took the cricket world by storm as a part of the Australian cricket team. Born in Pune, Lisa Sthalekar held the record of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Women's cricket till the year 2013 - a daughter of India who played in the Australian Cricket team. At the age of 12, Akshay Venkatesh of Indian origin had taken the world by surprise when he won the International Physics Olympiad and International Maths Olympiad. He was representing Australia, of course! Renowned mathematician Mathai Verghese had reached Australia from India via Africa. Actor-singer Tharini Mudaliar was of Indian origin. Born in South Africa, she was quite famous in Australia for her talent. Indira Naidoo, a writer-journalist of Indian origin who also served in the UN makes every Indian proud. Besides these too, there might be numerous other Indians who might have used all their resources for Australia's benefit. It has been their constant efforts to contribute to Australia's success in the sectors that they could contribute to. This has always been the USP of a country like India. No matter where we are, we constantly try to contribute to that country's success in our own little manner. To be the best in what they are capable of doing and in doing so, contribute towards the development of the nation has always been a priority for Indians. It is hence that I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart!

Though the elections were going on in India and there was no manner in which you could have voted but I know you were keeping close tabs on the progress there. I know families here were glued to their seats even as the results were being announced back home in India. This enthusiasm, however, was not about victory or loss, neither was it about whose government will it be. All those watching were inflicted with the pain to see their country transforming and becoming like the country that they resided in. For them the elections were directly proportionate to the chances their country had of a gleaming future. For them it was not a matter of who would win and who would lose and of which party will manage to make the government. For them, it was only the concern of India's future. A future in which every citizen of India would have access to electricity, water supply and hygienic toilets. The others may have visions of a grander India. I have small visions but want to implement in on the larger scale such that every Indian can live the grand life - an independent life devoid of the problems of poverty and unemployment.

Can you even imagine contributing to the economic development without having a proper banking system in place in today's day and age of technological advancement? Bank accounts are so common for everyone. When the banks in India were nationalised, it was with a vision to ensure that the poorest of poor will be able to have a bank account. But have you seen anyone poor in the banks back home?

I have now dreamt of a future where the poor have a bank account. I have made the Pradhanmantri Jandhan Plan with the vision that every poor person in the country has a bank account and becomes a beneficiary of the economic development in the country and gets acquainted with the system to progress with it. I am talking of the 75 million families who have a bank account. I am not talking about individuals; I am talking about families of at least 5 people per family which takes it to a figure that would be anyone's guess.

I told the Reserve Bank of India that we have to do it and that if such a project can be executed? And they said Modi ji it can be possible but.... I am well aware of the fact that no one refuses the Prime Minister of a nation but they have their ways of replying.... they told me it will take at least three years. I told them that it was not an option. I then asked the finance ministry if the execution of the plan was possible as the duration that the RBI had asked for was three years. They said that they will surely do it in two years time. They thought Modi ji will be very happy with the answer. They said three, we brought it down to two - that should work! I called the officials of PMO and briefed them about the duration asked by both the RBI and the departments and asked them if they could do any better. They said it will at least take a year's time. I heard everyone and on 15 August, while delivering the speech announced that the plan will be executed in 150 days.

In the last 68 years, on an average 10 million (1 crore) bank accounts were opened every year. We decided to do it and in the last ten weeks we have managed to open a total of 71 million accounts in the country. The same government, the same employees, the same office, the same files, the same habits and the same people - but the work was done! Is it possible or not possible? You see the honesty of these poor people and I salute them who have made this possible from this land. We had decided to open accounts with zero balance as more often than not, the poor in India do not even have Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 to spare as the minimum charges. But the people of my country are such that they decided not to take any free favours. They decided to be a part of the economy by opening their accounts with everything they had - whether it was Rs 100 or Rs 200, they opened accounts with what was perhaps their life's savings. And as a result of this, the total sum of money that has been deposited in the 71 million bank accounts opened in the last ten weeks has amounted to a total of Rs. 5000 crore. I am sure with this they are feeling more connected to the nation's growing economy.

All I am trying to say here is that let us not underestimate the power of people of India and the Indian system. We should believe in the system and in the citizens of the country to veer the country towards its goal. If we help guide the people to take them in the right direction they are ready to run ahead of us. I have set for them a deadline of January 26 and all the bank employees are trying their best to complete the mammoth task by then.

On 2nd October this year, I have undertaken the ambitious project, 'Swachh Bharat'. Everytime we go to a foreign country the most immediate thing we notice is the cleanliness there and it brings us back to the bylanes of our country where garbage is dumped onto the street. We never litter when we are in a foreign country, so why do we in our own? The fault is not of the government alone. We too have a role to play and besides it is not all that difficult not to litter, is it? I know it is a difficult job. Gandhi ji shared the same vision and motivated people for it. Should we completely ignore it and run away from it instead of putting up a fight against it? One should be ready to face criticism and I am treading into troubled waters fully aware of its consequences.

Those who fought the 1857's first battle of Indian independence never lived to see India achieving its freedom but had they given up with the thought that they wouldn't be able to enjoy the fruits of their efforts, our independence would have been impossible. If 1.25 crore Indians decide to change the image the world has of India and strive towards making it a clean country, I don't see why it won't be a reality some day. Therefore I have undertaken this task. I am making toilets. Imagine the Prime Minister of a country making toilets! But this is important especially to protect the dignity of our women. It is shameful and pains us to see that villages still can't provide this basic facility to its women due to which their dignity is at stake. God has showered his immense blessings on you so I to you appeal that you to contribute your bit to the village you belong to. You might not be a millionaire with lots of money at your disposal but at least you have the least minimum to make the ends meet. They don't. They need your assistance and I invite you contribute to the cause in any manner possible. Cleanliness is a sector that has a huge impact on the development of a country. When there's a lack of cleanliness, diseases are rampant due to which those poor end up spending a fortune in medicines every year. Cleaning up and practising hygiene would solve the problems manifold. Hence I request you that if you would want to contribute to India's development in any manner, please do it through this drive.

I have visited Australia on many prior occasions and the question I was often asked here was that what would I take back from the country. What could I answer to that! One thing about this country that has always touched me has been dignity of labour. People here talk in the same manner to a doctor as they would to a driver. Here a person can be a scientist on weekdays and a cab driver on the weekends. This is the thing that we should learn from Australia. I also want to praise the cleanliness in the country. Here it isn't considered below dignity to pick up garbage and throw it in the bin and the efforts are instead lauded. The attitude back home in India is very wrong. When someone comes to clean our home, we refer to them as the garbage guy not as the one who will clean the house. This is the basic problem that our country faces. Our terminology itself is flawed. And I have seen the changes taking place. Businessmen, film stars, sportsmen, academicians and politicians have all taken up the task of cleaning their country and I appreciate their efforts! It will obviously take time. When Diwali cleaning of merely two rooms take as much time, to clean up the vast country of India will definitely take time and hence we have set the target of the year 2019 by which we want to clean up the country. The year also marks the 150th birthday of the father of the nation - Mahatma Gandhi. What better gift could we present him with than a clean India that he had always envisioned?

Additionally, the lack of diseases will benefit the poor but the resulting cleanliness will give a substantial boost to the tourism in the country. India has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and there are buyers out there who want to explore the country for all its exotic beauty which encapsulates the essence of the world within itself. But we should also have the power, attitude and self-belief to make it happen. We are culturally, historically and geographically such a diverse nation that tourism can be the most booming industry in the country but we give up at the very beginning with the thought that it is a Herculean task and that is when things start going downhill.

We want the world to invest in us, which is why we have created the 'Make in India' programme. At the base of all these plans is the desire to bring the world to India, have them set up their manufacturing units here and thus generate jobs for our youth such that they can earn a living. This is our main objective that is at the core of all the plans that we have in place. We want to create jobs and hence we are beckoning the world to invest in India. A country that has such a huge population of youth that has the potential to contribute to the success of the world, needs a plan like Make in India to change the existing system. Good governance is definitely a prerequisite but when the investors visit with all the top managers and company CEOs, the first thing that they look out for the quality of life in the country.

When I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, we wanted to make the Japanese visit Gujarat and connect with our people. We noticed that no matter what we have, the Japanese will only come if we have golf courts. But the people of Gujarat only knew about the local sport of Gilli Danda, they had never heard of golf. After much consideration, we had to tell a private party to make arrangements for golf as I needed the investment. The essence is that for a company to invest in your country they need a quality life for their officers in that country. It is hence, India's duty to ensure that the quality of life that the citizens are offered is of optimum standards and along with investment when the expats come they maintain and enjoy a good standard of living, their children avail good education, good healthcare and they have opportunities to lead a good life and these things are inter-connected. Only making government plans and luring the investors with a tax free benefit doesn't work anymore. They won't come even if you offer it for free. For that you have to bring about a change in the system and create an environment. 'Make in India' is an attempt in that direction.

We can all take pride in the Indian Railway system. But it is stuck there. There isn't even a kilometre that is being added, neither is the speed of the trains increasing any nor are the passengers getting more space. If the passengers are increasing, they are not being accommodated inside the train and are instead sitting on the train. Do these problems don't have any solutions? They do! With a lot of courage, we have decided to bring in 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the Indian Railways. I beckon those knowledgeable about Railways to India. They will come because India is a huge market of 125 crore Indians. The Railways provide a great possibility in a diverse country like India. The Railways also need technology upgradation and provides a lot of opportunities in the sector. It is a huge market and by no means, an easy feat. They might be a developed Railway system in other countries but hardly any passengers!

What I am trying to say is that we are trying to bring about a structured change that will in turn bring about changes for the average Indian and help them touch new heights of success. The standard procedure to procure a job in Railways is to apply after an advertisement announcing an opening is printed in the newspapers. After being trained on the government's level, the employee would directly get through and start working. We have hence founded four new universities which will only train those who want to work for the Railways. While studying there, the students will be fully equipped to deal with anything related to Railway be it technology upgradation or railway expansion.

At the same time, we also need to bring about development of Human Resources. We have taken up another plan accordingly. The manner in which the world has advanced, it now needs a good work force. Half of the world's population is facing the threat of old age. They may be financially ahead of us but technology alone is not enough to live life. We have worked hard enough to provide the world with a good work force. But it is incomplete. We need to work on skill development which is the only thing that will make us useful to the world. We want to map the world and figure out that by 2020 which country will require what kind of workforce. The world needs more of maths and science teachers. We may import diamonds, gems, jewelery, potatoes and tomatoes from them but if we can provide them with good quality teachers, then we can conquer the entire world. As the world needs good teachers but for that we have to focus on human resource development in the country. Irrespective of the time it takes... 5, 10 or 15 years, we need to need to build a resource pool that can meet the demands of the world. Our youth will get employment and the world will get good resources and the world would be indebted to India.

We need to concentrate all our resources on the youth. It is only on the basis of the youth's talent, their strength and their capabilities that we can manage to gain the world's respect.

The world can no longer be won with wars. The time of wars is long past. It is not physical strength that will be victorious now, it will only be mental strength and hence we have to fortify the youth of your country and make them capable enough to represent India on the global map. Then and only then can we expect to be at par with the world.

I assure you my fellow countrymen, I know there are expectations and ambitions in all the praises that you shower on me. I promise to fulfill all of them. Your hopes and aspirations are my hopes and aspirations too. The manner in which you want to see India rising, I too want the same. The only difference is I believe that governments can't make nations and they shouldn't try too. The country is made up of its countrymen. If we can empower the countrymen and not create hindrances in their path we will be helping a lot. The previous government took pleasure in creating rules and acts and made these into the key points during the elections. I am quite the opposite. I like breaking rules. They have made it into such a burden. Please open the windows and let the fresh air in and let them bloom. I believe in the citizen of our country and in their capabilities. I truly believe that they are the ones who can take this country forward instead of the government. I am a of firm believer of these facets.

When you came here or while you were studying, you might have had to get your mark sheets attested by a gazetted officer. And there is usually a long queue outside the gazetted officer's house. Only if you know the politician or doctor well, then you can be allowed to jump the queue. However, what I don't understand is at a time when photocopies rule the roost, how a MLA’s or Corporator’s approval of your identity can validate your existence. When I came into power, I scrapped this practise that has been in effect since the British time. After all we have to trust the 125 crore Indians and if they say that the information is true to their knowledge then we must believe them. Hence I took the decision of stopping this dated practise. When you get the job, you can show the original copies and prove your facts.

The matter of fact is that I am asking us to trust our countrymen. If I hadn't shown faith in my countrymen, those below the poverty line wouldn't have been able to deposit 5000 crore in the banks.

We want to accumulate all the powers of the citizen by having faith in them and join forces to build a prosperous country. To empower the women population of the country and also to recognise the work of farmers, I have started the Shramev Jayate campaign. We are all well versed with Satyamev Jayate which means that 'truth alone triumphs' but now is the time to promote dignity of labour which I will be doing under this campaign.

You have showered me with so much love and hence it is my duty to talk about your benefits too. You might also have certain grievances like the Embassy is not helpful, calls aren't answered, no one attends to you or entertains you there and that though Modi is now in power, there aren't many huge changes for you. This is what happens when we have been through such dark days that such negativity is bound to be present. But I assure you that the system can be changed. I had made a few points in the speech I gave at Madison Square in America but the people gathered there didn't take me seriously. They must have thought that like the many others who had come there earlier and made huge promises, I too will fail to deliver. It is a case of once bitten twice shy. But I would like to say that as soon as I returned to India, I started implementing all the promised plans one by one. The ones who have the PIO card will get a permanent visa to India. Now one won't have to worry about the embassy being unresponsive. Then there was the problem of whether or not we should include the OCI. My solution to the problem was to treat both PIO and OCI on equal footage.

This year, the Bhartiya Pravasi Day celebrations are going to be held in Gujarat. This year it holds a special importance too. Gandhiji had returned to India in January 2015 and this year marks the 100 years of the event. By celebrating the event we want to celebrate the spirit of being an Indian in Indians around the world, just like Gandhiji had. In fact, I have decided that we will complete the merger of PIO and OCI by 8-9 of January, 2015 before the Bhartiya Pravasi Day.

Earlier, it was a trend for whoever who visited us to make a round of the police station for a verification of whether or not you are the same person. I have scrapped off this rule too and it has also been implemented. The matter of fact is that I am trying to free the country off all these rules.

We also have a part of the embassy in Sydney and they have a cultural centre. I have informed them to make the facility fully functional by February (2015).

I have a website - mygov.in. You can address all your grievances there. You can also drop in with your suggestions or your will to contribute to the country in any possible manner. I am also going to take an initiative to reopen the cultural center by February (2015).

Another important decision is that of facilitating tourism in the country by providing a visa on arrival. This service will soon be available.

I have taken a lot of your time. I can understand, you have come here on a special train even after today being a working day. And such a turnout! My eyes can't even see as far as you are sitting. I am very thankful for your love and I hope this love and blessings continue.

I am promising you that I won't compromise on hard work. Whatever intelligence, time and power the Almighty has blessed me with, it is all dedicated to you and my country. But it is a given that all of us have to together build the nation. The country has given us a lot of things and now it is our turn to pay back! Whatever we have become today is all thanks to the efforts of our countrymen. Even the almighty likes it when we help others.

I once again thank you for coming here in such large numbers and showering me with your love and respect. I am very grateful to you. I want you to say along with me with full force – Bharat Mata Ki Jai ! Bharat Mata Ki Jai !

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