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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
27-September-2015 18:46 IST
English Rendering of the Text of PM’s address to the Indian community at SAP Centre, San Jose

Good Evening California,

Good Evening California,

Your excitement is overwhelming. It is 27th September here today and in India it is the 28th of September. 28th September is the birth anniversary of the brave son of India, Shaheed Bhagat Singh. I salute the brave son of mother India, brave Shaheed Bhagat Singh ji. I will start with ‘Veer Bhagat Singh’ and you all must follow up with ‘Long live! Long live!’ with both hands raised up.

Veer Bhagat Singh… (Long live! Long live!)

Veer Bhagat Singh… (Long live! Long live!)

Veer Bhagat Singh… (Long live! Long live!)

I have been here for past couple of days. I have had the opportunity to meet many people. Last year in September, I had come here for the UN summit. On 28th September last year, I had the opportunity to meet my countrymen at Madison square. Today, in California, after a year, I have the opportunity to meet you all.  I have come here almost after 25 years.  Many things seems to have changed. I can see many new faces. In a way, I am experiencing a vibrant image of India in California. Whosoever I have met here has a shine on his face, dreams in his eyes and I see people here with the determination to do something. And one of the most important aspects is that the citizens of this country feel very proud of the Indian community here and respect them. I congratulate all of you for this accomplishment and compliment you all.

India has created a new identity and a new image, in the entire world today. The world has been compelled to change its old viewpoint about India. The reason behind this is the magic of your fingers. You have created a new identity of India by movement of your fingers on the keyboard. Your capabilities, commitment, innovations are compelling the world to change. The one who refuses to change or has decided not to change with time will become irrelevant in the 21st century.

You can imagine how much it makes me happy to see youth from India like you transforming the world by working in a foreign land. This is why I congratulate and welcome you for the efforts and the initiatives for making India proud, adding to its prestige and compelling the world to look at India in a new light.

At some point or the other in our country we used to hear things and there used to be discussion as well that “do something, this brain-drain should stop.”  I say, mother India is a land of many gems.  It will keep cultivating intelligent brains one after another. Had anyone thought that this brain-drain could turn into brain gain? This is why I see this phenomenon from a different perspective. There was a time when it seemed like brain-drain, now I feel this is brain-deposit. This deposit of brain is now looking for opportunities. The day this brain gets that opportunity it will repay its motherland with interest by serving it. Will it or won’t it? (Yes!)

Will it or won’t?... (Yes!)

Will it or won’t?... (Yes!)

Are you sure?... (Yes!)

This is why, it is not brain drain but it is brain-deposit. It is an invaluable deposit. My countrymen, I say now is the time, the opportunity, wherein every Indian should make people aware of their power, take advantage of one’s knowledge. The land, the water, the air and the values which has helped us reach where we are today is awaiting us. We seem to be connected and bound together with West coast, California because of IT, our youth, and our democratic values.

However, if we look through the window of history of the 19th century, my Sikh brothers from India came here, started farming and built a connection. The fight for India’s independence was going on, on the Indian soil, the desire for independence was in India but who can forget the rebellion that was going on here, thousands miles away, where the torch of independence was lit. For India to be independent, our Sikh brothers and sisters, our Indian brothers, who were settled here in the west coast, California used to make every effort possible and this is the connection.  If in the 19th century, a farmer who was settled here was worried for India’s independence then the 21st century youth is worried about the poverty in India and that youth will also do something for India. Is there a bigger inspiration than this?

In 1914, Gopal Mukherjee became the first Indian graduate from Stanford University. Not only this, in 1957-63, Dileep Singh Sood became the congressman from here, was elected an M.P and was the first Indian to be seated in Washington and describe about us. Very few people know about Jai Prakash Narayan who sacrificed his youth, who lived his life on the values of Mahatma Gandhi and who headed a movement against the second attack on democracy after independence, when emergency was imposed in India, when respectable leaders were jailed in 1975. Many of you must be unaware that Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan came here to study in California. This means that the Indian connection with this area has been very integral and firm.

Today, in order to create a new world, the Indian community is sitting here and building a prospective history. This is why every Indian feels proud when they think about you and I am very glad to see you all here today.

It has been almost 16 months since I got elected and came to power in Delhi. I was a stranger when I came 16 months back. I did not even know the geography of the place properly.  I needed somebody’s help to know the way to the parliament. A new person like me had been given a responsibility by the 125 crore people of India. I have been trying to fulfill that responsibility with your blessings. Wherever in the world you go today, people are looking at India with hope and confidence. Since last 20-25 years, a discussion has been going on – ‘21st century belongs to which country? Everyone admits that they think it belongs to Asia. Everyone agrees to this. But from some time now, people are not saying that 21st century is Asia’s century, in fact, people are saying that 21st century is India’s century. The world has started believing this now.

Why has there been a change now? How have things changed?  (People shouting, Modi Modi)

This change is not due to Modi, Modi, Modi alone. This change has been possible due to the power of determination of 125 crore Indian citizens. These 125 crore people have decided and they are determined that now India will not lag behind. When the majority of people are determined about something then even the Gods shower their blessings. The whole world that used to see India as a nation holding a marginal position, now sees it positioned centrally. There was a time when India used to struggle endlessly to keep up with the rest of the world. Everyone had tried in their own ways but today the times have changed in a way that the whole world is yearning to connect with India. This environment of trust that has developed is going to take India to new heights.

I said this when I came to power, and I am going to say this again today that because of the technology that you have developed nothing can be hidden today. Nothing can stay far and no news can wait. As soon as something happens, you get the news on your mobile phones. This is what you have done and this is why you are updated about even the smallest news in India. Sometimes, when you sit in a stadium to watch a cricket match, you have to keep turning your head everywhere to keep track of the ball, to know the position of the fielder, to know what wicket keeper is doing and also to track the umpire. But when you watch a match on the television, sitting at home, you can see everything, you know where the ball is, what the fielder is doing, where the wicket keeper is and where the umpire is? Do you or don’t you? That is why, you, who look at India from far away land, see it better than the people who look at India while living in India. You know everything that goes on there, what Modi is doing, what Modi used to say earlier, what has Modi done - you know everything.

When I came to power, I said that I will not leave any stone unturned in terms of working hard. I will work endlessly and will dedicate every moment towards fulfilling the responsibility that 125 crore people have entrusted me. Today, after 16 months, I require your certificate.

Have I kept my promise? … (Yes!)

Have I kept my promise? … (Yes!)

Have I kept my promise? … (Yes!)

Have I worked tirelessly? … (Yes!)

Am I working day in and day out? … (Yes!)

For my country? … (Yes!)

The responsibility that you have given me and the promise that I made, I am complying on it fully. In our country politicians are blamed very easily. He made 50 crores,  she made 100 crores, the son made 250 crores, the daughter made 500 crores, the son-in-law made 1000 crores, one paternal cousin bagged the contract, maternal cousin got flats.

You get to hear all this or not?... (Yes!)

Are you fed up listening to all this or not?... (Yes!)

The country has become hopeless, yes or no?... (Yes!)

People are now sick of corruption or not?... (Yes!)

Are people angry or not?... (Yes!)

My fellow countrymen, I am standing amongst you all today, is there any taint on me?... (No!)

Is there any taint?... (No!)

I want to assure my country that we will live and die for our country.

(Bharat Mata Ki Jai! Bharat Mata Ki Jai! Bharat Mata Ki Jai!)

Dear brothers and sisters,

Our country is powerful and competent. Sometimes people ask me, Modi ji, where do you get all this confidence from? Why do you think your country will progress? People of my country ask me, they say Modi ji, “this happened, that happened, are you not worried, are you not afraid? You keep saying that our country will progress?” I believe that my country will progress. I believe in it because my country is young. What can a country not achieve when 65% of its population is younger than 35 years? The country that has 800 million youngsters, 1600 million arms, what can that nation not accomplish? Dear brothers and sisters, I can say with firm belief that this country will not be left behind.

Do you know about the terminology that was introduced in the world a few years back? About the countries that are going to pick up a faster pace of development. What are the chances? A term was coined then, ‘BRICS’. B,R,I,C,S and the people who coined this word said that there are these five countries  - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that will develop very fast and lead the world. These five countries were point of discussion. If you have observed it closely, there were murmurs that this “BRICS’ terminology needs to be changed because we were thinking that ‘I’ would progress but ‘I’ is tumbling down and this discussion had started. In BRICS ‘I’ of India was perceived to be less capable of playing its role. People could not understand how the BRICS theory will work without the ‘I’.

Dear countrymen, today, I can say it with immense pride that in the word BRICS, if there is any letter that is standing strong, it is the letter ‘I’. Within 15 months, we have reached the heights of development, attained economic stability, initiated various development programs and all this has resulted in the belief that in the concept of BRICS that was envisioned, India has emerged as a force to reckon with.

Be it the World Bank, the IMF, Moody’s, or various different rating agencies, they all have been unanimously saying my friends that amongst all the big countries of the world, the country whose economy is progressing fastest is  …..(India!)

The country is …(India!)

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the economic state that India is currently, it cannot really do much. It is a huge country, there is so much poverty, and how can a country progress in such conditions? But in such adverse conditions also our country is progressing and the world has started accepting it. India has created a new identity for itself in the field of science. Earlier, we were known for Upanishads, India used to be always proud of the Upanishads, Upanishads and Upanishads but the world could not really understand it. But today the same country has moved ahead from Upanishads and started discussing satellites, discussion of satellites!

The success of our Mars Mission…. in the whole world, India is the first country to be successful in its Mars Mission in the first attempt. Many countries of the world tried, but they succeeded after multiple attempts. India succeeded in its first attempt. Similarly, I have also succeeded in my first attempt.

Why, look at the power of determination of the country, look at the capability of our nation. Many years back, around the time of Vikram Sarabhai, Bhabha etc., there used to be conflicts over the fact that “Our country is poor, why do we need to go to the space? Why are we spending such huge sum on it? If we do not use satellites, will we not survive?” These discussions were common in our country. Today, the same satellites are proving to be very useful to the country. If the farmer wants any weather related information, he gets it through the satellites. If the fishermen want to go fishing, all the information about the area, the distance, availability of fish, can be made available through our satellites.

When I came to Delhi, I told the officers that “look, the times have changed, we must embrace e-governance, technology must be used for governance as much as possible. I have been the chief minister of one state for a very long time and my experience says that E-governance is effective governance, E-governance is easy governance and E-governance is most economic Governance.” While I was sitting with my officers, I asked them “How do you use the space technology?” Most of them said “No, we don’t use it much, the people who work for the space are using it mainly.” I said, “You can use it as well.” I insisted, I invited the space technology team, got their meetings conducted with every department and organized workshops, I followed it with them to set in motion.

Today I am happy to say that in our offices there are around 170 kinds of small tasks that the Indian government is doing using the space technology. The way technology has given the world a new strength, a new direction and therefore we have also are nurtured a dream of Digital India.

Today, even the poorest person in India uses a mobile phone. A person, who sells vegetables, keeps a mobile phone. A milkman uses a mobile phone. A newspaper vendor uses a mobile phone. This is the level of penetration of technology.  The government should connect with this phenomenon, and therefore we are thinking about JAM for all. When I talk of JAM theory, then JAM means…

“J” means Jan Dhan Bank Account. The people among you who belong to my generation must know that the banks in India were nationalized around 1969, 70,71. It was said that these banks were only serving the rich and were of no use to the poor and that is why the banks need to be nationalized. The government took everything in its own hands, they said that these banks will be open to the poor now.

I have to say with regret today that when I came to Delhi after coming to power I found out that in our country half of the population has never even seen the door of a bank. In today’s world, the banks prove to be the back bone of the financial system and if in my country 50% of the people stay away from the banking system, how will they be a partner in the economy of the country.

We undertook the task of opening bank accounts for everyone in 100 days. You might be thinking what has happened to Mr. Modi?  What could not be accomplished in 40 years, he wants to accomplish it in 100 days. But my fellow countrymen you will be happy to know that as a result of this initiative 18 crore new bank accounts have been opened. The poorest of the poor has a bank account. They were poor and had no money to open a bank account, so we made a rule that anyone opening a bank account under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana could do so with a zero balance.  Banking officials were unhappy at this proposition. They said “Sir at least pay us for the stationary. I said we have enjoyed a lot for the past 40 years. Now we will have to work hard. See they have to open an account with zero balance. But I got to witness the richness of the poor. We are aware of the miserly attitude of the rich, but when the poor demonstrate their large heartedness, then my heart swells with pride. The government had said that a bank account can be opened with zero balance, but the poor through their contributions of Rs. 50, 100 and 200 deposited a collective amount of 32,000 crores in the bank.

Just see the attitude of my countrymen. Even the poorest of the poor wants to do something for the country. So the ‘J’ of the Jan Dhan Yojana has enabled an efficient economic system.

Second is “A” – Aadhar Card. There is a movement in the entire country, where every citizen will have an identity card with a special number under the biometric system, a number which is unique and cannot be duplicated. Otherwise earlier, a single individual was able to collect money from 10 different schemes. Aadhar Card has been made the focal point.

The third is “M”- Mobile governance. Why shouldn’t the government be run through the mobile phone? Why shouldn’t the rights of the citizens be accessible through the mobile?

So we are moving forward keeping “JAM” as focus with people friendly and people centric welfare policies. And the results are for all to see!

Just tell me – has the corruption ruined the nation or not?.. (Yes!)

Shouldn’t the corruption be eliminated?...(Yes!)

But just my not being corrupt will solve the problem? ...(No!)

We have to do much more than that? ...(Yes!)

It can be done without much rhetoric, very silently as I can illustrate it with an example. The government gives subsidy on the gas cylinders we use at home. For each cylinder a subsidy of Rs. 150-200 is offered through the government exchequer so that the gas stove can be used to make food at your homes. This subsidy is provided to all, be it the rich or those poor people who have a cylinder. We have decided that the gas subsidy will be decided on the basis of the number on the Aadhar Card and thus we can determine who the true beneficiaries are. If the beneficiary has a Jan Dhan account, then the subsidy will be directly transferred to his account.

Earlier, 19 crore people were projected users of gas cylinders. That means the government would pay subsidy for 19 crore gas cylinders each month. We connected the subsidy to Aadhar and Jan Dhan Yojana. We found that there were only 13 crore cylinders in circulation. There were no more owners beyond that. Earlier subsidy for 19 crores was being doled out, now it has been restricted to 13-14 crores. Where did the subsidy for that 5 crore cylinders end up if I am to compute from the earlier price of gas. In the current context, the price of gas cylinder has gone down, but if I calculate from the older price then around Rs. 19000 crore were being looted from the exchequer. My friends now all that money is saved in the government exchequer.  Middlemen and thugs have all been eliminated through this JAM scheme i.e Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile. Tell me is the corruption being eliminated or not?...(Yes)

Middlemen have been eliminated or not ? ...(yes)

Money is being saved or not? ...(Yes)

Will this money be used for the poor or not? ...(Yes)

How does change come about? I had casually urged my countrymen, there was no huge campaign. I had simply requested them, I said “You earn well, you have industries and factories, you have your own vehicles, then why do you take this subsidy on cylinder?” I had just mentioned it casually. But just see the faith of the people of the country. It is human nature that no one forsakes what he gets for free, howsoever rich a person may be. But today I mention this with pride and would like to praise all the 30 lakh people who surrendered their subsidy. 30 lakh people voluntarily surrendering their subsidy, there can be no more potent force than that in a nation. And I want to tell you that, it is this strength that is going to take the nation forward. 

Dear brothers and sisters, for the youth we have launched Skill Development - each hand should have some skill. If my nation has 800 million youth then they all should be equipped with some skill that will contribute in creating future India. Our mother and sisters – their strength should be used in national development hence we have launched the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” movement which has gained momentum. How do my farmers increase their yield? I am a firm believer of use of technology, so I have started Soil Health Card. In our country we do not have Health Card for individuals and I propose to create a Health Card for the farmer’s soil. This will enable him to realize the strengths or the shortcomings of his soil and what can be done to improve it further and earn more. I have taken such unique initiatives.

Recently I did a small work. The farmers need a lot of urea for their fields. They use urea in the fields and the government subsidizes it. Almost Rs. 80,000 crores worth of subsidy is given each year. But how much this subsidy reaches the farmers and how much of it goes to some other place, we have no record of that. So we did something, we coated the urea with neem. Once again, science and technology is the only thing I can think of. So we coated it with neem. Upon doing so, it cannot be used for any purpose other than farming. Earlier the urea would be smuggled to chemical factories. I can say with complete confidence that next year when the accounts will be settled post harvesting, thousands of crores would have been saved from pilferage. At the same time my farmer will have neem coated urea, which will benefit his crops even more. The fields will have different type of elements and the need for urea will decline.

Efforts are on in various fields to achieve the pinnacle of success. If I start mentioning each initiative, then even if I speak for two hours each day, it will still take me at least 15 days to mention all of them. So today I am leaving you with a view of a trailer. You will get some idea how India is making strides towards progress. Today, the world faces two challenges - one is terrorism and the other is global warming. And it is my firm belief that if all the humanitarian forces of the world unite, all people who have faith in humanity unite, then even terrorism can be defeated and the world could be saved from the perils of global warming. We can together walk that path. We have accepted these challenges.

India is fully prepared to meet all types of challenges. And today, wherever in the world we go we discuss this issue very seriously. We have created a pressure on the UN. The UN is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Yet United Nations has not been able to define terrorism.  If such a long time is taken just to define terrorism then how long will it take it to counter terrorism? I have written letters to all the nations of the world. And I have told that it is the need of the hour that UN categorizes certain things as terrorist acts and these are people who will be defined as supporters of terrorism. It should be clear to the world about the people who believe in humanity. We should have a clear definition - who are the terrorists? Who are humanists? Who is standing with terrorists? All this should now be clearly defined in this world.

I hope and I do sincerely hope that this generation of United Nations will not be able to ignore this serious problem for very long. The humanist forces of the world will have to pressurize that it be decided once and for all, in black and white, what the definition of terrorism is? In the absence of the definition of terrorism, words like ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism’ are prevalent. We cannot save humanity from this good terrorism and bad terrorism.

Terrorism is just terrorism. And today, I remember my visit of 1993 where I met the representatives of the State Department and explained them how terrorism is a nuisance in our country and that so many innocent people are being killed by the terrorists. They in their turn explained me that this is not terrorism, but a law and order problem. I said “It is not law and order problem, it is terrorism” but they were not ready to listen. I came back again after a year, then they asked for an appointment with me. I was surprised as I was not holding any position, but then I agreed to meet them.  So the next time they asked me “what is terrorism”.  So I said, “Nothing, but some law and order problem”. They then urged me to explain what terrorism is. I asked “How have you suddenly become enlightened? Why have you started bothering about terrorism, please tell me. My nation has been suffering for the past 40 years because of terrorism. We have been explaining people how innocents are being needlessly killed. But, the world is instead questioning us. I asked what was the reason behind this sudden enlightenment. Well there had been an explosion in their stock market. It was that explosion that made them realize what terrorism in India is. And only then they started acknowledging it.

The world needs to understand this. Do not think it is somebody else’s problem and it will not affect us. It can reach any corner of the world. So all the humanitarian forces need to come together in this fight against terrorism. This is the need of the world and we should be prepared to fulfill it. And I am out to convey this message. And today, when UN is celebrating its 70th anniversary, it is its responsibility to present to the world a clear picture of who it deems as terrorists and who are humanists. The picture should be clear once and for all so that the world can decide which path to follow. And then only will there be peace in the world.

We come from the land where Gandhi and Buddha were born. Siddhartha was born in Nepal, but after coming to Bodh Gaya he became Buddha.  The land which has given the world the mantra of non-violence can request the world that 21st century should not be tainted with the blood of innocents.  We will have to save the 21st century from being tainted by violence. I have very strongly put forth my point in the UN . I am going again tomorrow and I will repeat it again.

My dear brothers and sisters of California, I am extremely grateful for the love, the welcome and the respect shown by you all. And all of us, all the 125 crore Indians will work to fulfill the dream of every Indian. There should be welfare of the poorest of the poor, employment for the youth, respect for women, the farmers are happy and prosperous and there is a change in the lives of the villagers and villages and we have embarked on that journey.

May we continue to receive your blessings, with these expectations I thank you all once again.

And I express my deep gratitude to all the Senators and Congressmen who came here in large numbers and expressed their love and solidarity for India. I express thanks to all the esteemed leaders who are representing the American politics for coming here in large numbers and gracing this occasion.

Please close your fist and call out loudly with me,

Bharat Mata Ki …(Jai)

Your voice should reach India. 

Bharat Mata Ki …(Jai)

Bharat Mata Ki …(Jai)

Bharat Mata Ki …(Jai)

Bharat Mata Ki………(Jai)

Once again we will remember the brave Bhagat Singh

Veer Bhagat Singh …(Long live! Long live!)

Veer Bhagat Singh ... (Long live! Long live!)

Veer Bhagat Singh ... (Long live! Long live!)

 

Thank You Very Much!

                                                              *****

 

AKT/AK/SH/HS