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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
15-April-2015 19:06 IST
English rendering of the Text of PM's address at the Indian Diaspora Event, at Ricoh Coliseum, in Toronto, Canada

 

The famous and very successful Prime Minister of Canada, my dear friend Mr. Stephen Harper, Mrs. Laurent Harper and my dear brothers and sisters who have gathered here in large numbers.

 

I thank the people of Canada from the core of my heart……..the way they have welcomed and respected me, the zeal and enthusiasm with which they have conveyed their love, I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the people of Canada. This honour is not just for Narendra Modi but for the 125 crore Indians. The identity that India has in Canada has not been created by Narendra Modi but by you my dear fellow Indians. It is you, your hard work, your life, the tendency of peaceful coexistence and our tradition of taking every one along, have all been exemplified by the way you live here. Every Canadian citizen is proud of you and respects you. Whenever we hear about an Indian’s achievement in any part of the world our heart swells with pride. The Indians residing in Canada through their successful business, their successful lives have played a significant role in enhancing India’s honour and prestige. My connection with this city is old. I have come here in the past as well, but at that time I was nothing. No one knew me. At that time as well, this city showered so much love on me, I arranged several programs, I met so many people and that is why I have come again to this country, with new responsibilities. I greet all my dear brothers and sisters living in this country.  

 

I have enjoyed excellent relations with the trade sector of Canada during my tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.  I had organized the Vibrant Gujarat Investor Summit for the first time in 2003. It was totally a new concept and I can say it with pride that Canada has been our partner country since 2003. For a developed country to partner with a small state  was not a small decision, but Canada took the call and is still fulfilling its commitment. I am grateful to Canada for this decision. I arrived here last  night and will leave tomorrow but I will never be able to forget the love that Canada has bestowed on me. These days the airline services are so good that one can reach Canada in 15, 17, or 20 hours. But it took 42 years for an Indian Prime Minister to reach here. Just see the dichotomy that India and Canada are coming together and making progress in space, but on land they shy away from each other. It gives me immense satisfaction that I have done it in ten months what could not be done in 42 years.

 

I am aware of India’s strengths and its needs, and Canada’s wealth and its potential. India plus Canada, you can imagine the possibilities. We can come out as such a great power in the world.   Canada can help India meet its requirements with its rich natural wealth. My farmers work on lands in India, he works hard, and when he needs fertilizer, the potash comes from Canada. There is such a lot of natural wealth here…Once the Premiere of one of the Canadian states visited Gujarat. I described my state to him. I was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat. I introduced him to the strengths of my state.…… I told him that we do not have diamond mines, but such is the potential of my people, so powerful is their entrepreneurship, that 9 out of every 10 diamond passes through an Indian hand. I told him that you have diamond mines, give me raw diamonds, I will add value to it and return it to you. The Indian sweat on your raw diamonds will enhance your power fourfold in the world. This is the potential of both the countries. Today we begin a new era of aligning the potential of both the nations. Today we made certain mutual decisions in a very open, candid and in a friendly environment. We had no difficulty in understanding each other and I want to assure you that this Indo Canadian world is going to last a very long time. For this I would like to thank the Prime Minister, my friend Mr. Harper and express my gratitude towards him.

Dear brothers and sisters, last year when the elections were being held in India, the slogans could be heard here. The results were declared there, but sweets were being distributed here. The people there were celebrating during the day but you held the celebrations at midnight. Dear brothers and sisters, 10 months ago, only the government changed. But today, after 10 months I can say that the mindset of the common man has changed. What will happen due to change in governance is for the time to tell, but I truly understand what all can happen when the mindset changes.

I am reminded of a song from Hindi film during our childhood days – “देख तेरे संसार की हालत क्या हो गई भगवानकितना बदल गया इंसान” – “Look Lord, what had happened to the world, man has changed so much”. At that time the song echoed the pain and agony of those times. But today I am seeing the same song in a new light. At that time there was pain that men had changed for worse but today I can say it with pride that men has changed for the better. They have become good, they have really changed. Can anyone imagine? I asked my poor brother and sisters to open an account in the bank. The banks existed even before I was born, the banks were functional even after the country became Independent, during the Congress regime, the government of Mrs. Indira Gandhi nationalized the banks, so that it can become useful to the poor. Despite that, around 10 crore families, that is around 40% of the people did not have a bank account. I had announced on 15th August that I want to open the bank accounts of these people. And that was a time…. you have also lived in India…..if one went to the bank, the officer would not even raise his eyes to see you. If you tried to catch his attention, he would snap at you - Can’t you see I am working! Men have changed, even the banking personnel have changed. These very banking personnel……. I am so proud of them today. I acknowledge their effort that they went to the villages, to the poor households and opened 14 crore accounts. 14 Crores! It’s almost three Canada’s put together and that too was achieved in 100 days, so the people have in fact changed. This is an example of the changing mindsets of the Indians, not only has the government changed, the thinking of the people has changed too. When the turn to open the bank account came, the issue came up that they do not have money, how will their accounts be opened. So I said lets open a zero balance account. The bank officials were little hesitant in the beginning. I said it does not take much, just a little paper work, you have to write their names on a piece of paper and you have to open a bank account. They insisted that the people should be made to pay some amount. I said that they sweat it out, what can they pay, just open their account. I told the poor that they don’t need to keep any money in their account. If some issue will arise, it will be dealt later. But my dear young friends, the mindsets have changed and how. I told to open the account for the poor without any money. But there is something known as the richness of the poor. This richness of the poor has a power of its own. Today, I can say it with pride and bow my head in honour of the poor people, for they deposited 14000 crore in the bank. This is indicative of the changing mindsets. The richness of the poor is a symbol of changed mindset. There is a new confidence in the country. It is not as if things will change because the government has changed. It is my faith in change that has brought about a change in the mindsets. What we say “Jan Gan Man Adhinayak”, that thinking of the people has changed. Whenever you arrive from a foreign country to India, what is your biggest grievance as soon as you get down at the airport? Look there is lot of dirt, no cleanliness – you feel that way, don’t you. We decided that though it is a difficult task, we will undertake it. Who else will do it if we don’t? Those who had to create filth did so and went away, but we will clean it up. Now the mindsets have changed to such an extent that each day there is some news from some or the other corner – all bank employees have come out on Saturday –Sunday on a clean up drive, students of some college are on a cleanliness mission, the priests of some temple have come out for a cleanliness drive, some MP or MLA has taken up this initiative. Each day we get this news. I saw…… if you visit Sachin Tendulkar’s website you will see a video. They decided a foothpath in Mumbai, each morning he would go there at 4 ‘0 clock with his friends. They went for a month and cleaned the place entirely and converted it into a park. Now people come and sit there. The government has not done it, the citizens are doing it. Two daughters, one from Nagaland and the other from Benaras have come together to clean up the Ghats of Kashi. And today, I am surprised, that the work started by these two daughters has got public support and now the entire Prabhu Ghat is clean. Today, people from all over and even the foreign countries enjoy a pleasant time along the banks of the Ganges. The country is huge, the dirt is a lot and old, it will take time, but this is indicative of a changing mindset. We decided to make toilets in schools, especially for the girl child. Many people consider this as a job not worthy of a Prime Minister. But I am a different kind of a Prime Minister, let others do great jobs, I want to do these little things. And like numerous drops of water make the ocean, similarly many such small efforts will change the face of India; that is my belief. It is my belief dear friends that if 125 crore Indians take a single step, the nation will surge ahead by 125 crore steps. One day I thought that those who have money might be enjoying a good meal in the hotel at least twice a week. They might be paying a bill of 15000-20000 easily. Should such people also avail a gas subsidy? Does it look nice? M.P’s, MLA’s, Ministers, they enjoy a subsidy of Rs. 400 a month. I just mentioned it casually that it does not look nice if people who can afford take a subsidy. The poor deserve it and they should be the ones to get it. No one who is capable should avail it. Does it look nice to enjoy a subsidized meal? I had not discussed this publicly. I was merely discussing it with my colleagues and the word started spreading. Again the mindset of the people have changed. And what did the changed mindset do? Almost 4 lakh people gave up their subsidy. This added almost 200 crore rupees to the country’s treasury. Can you imagine - Rupees 200 crore! No orders, no laws. Each one feels that the country cannot wait. The country has to move forward and we will take it forward – this is the belief of every citizen. And all this that I am telling you has not been done by Modi. These are the views of the common man. The citizens of the country have evolved a new approach, I am witnessing a joyful episode and then I publicly announced around 5-6 days back that those who can afford, should give up the gas subsidy. I am sure the people will give up their subsidy, but I also told them something else. I said that the subsidy they will surrender, that money will not be added to the government’s treasury. It does not mean I will pocket the subsidy. I told, with that money I will give a gas connection in those households where the poor mother uses wood for cooking, which results in a lot of smoke, small kids cry due to smoke, cannot sit in the house due to smoke and get sick. I will give this gas cylinder to these families and it will improve their health condition. If wood is no longer burnt, then it will save the forests, if there is no smoke, the environment will be saved. When the forests are saved, the environment improves. When a single person gives up subsidy, it gives multiple benefits. You can well imagine that all this is the result of the changing mindset.

You must be surprised to hear this incident, even I was surprised, but it is a pleasant one. One of the newspaper owners wrote a letter to me. Tell me, isn’t it a pleasant surprise. He writes in the letter that Modiji, we have created a policy for our newspaper and that policy is that for one day in a week, we will publish only positive news. This is no small news. Today, only one paper is doing so, but they have themselves come forward and expressed this view. I have not given them this idea. Our former President Abdul Kalam would always ask to create a positive column, but I could never dare to say so. But it made me very happy to see this change in attitude……this positivity is spreading far and wide, the concept is reaching the people far and wide. It feels that we will be able to realize the dreams that we have all grown up with, I can assure you about this.

Our nation has many problems and the solution to those problems has just one. There is a single remedy for all the problems. That remedy is not Modi but development. The only solution to all our problems is that we move ahead on the agenda of development. Let us work for development. I can assure you dear brothers and sisters that India has the power, it just needs the opportunities. In the last ten years, the road construction was around 2 kms every day. In the last 10 months it has reached almost 11 kms per day. You can see the development……11 kms ….I am not indulging in self praise, I am just presenting a comparative picture to illustrate how we are moving forward. Brothers and sisters only development can take us forward.

You imagine what great wealth does India have? My young friends, India has that wealth which no other nation possesses. Our country has 65% population below the age of 35 years. India is very young. A nation which has 80 crore young people, 160 crore strong arms and 80 crore dreams, what can it not achieve. It is our greatest wealth and that is why in my developmental agenda these 80 crore Indians occupy the focal point. I want them to be skilled, having employment opportunities. They can turn mud to gold and India can once again become the golden bird of the world. I have developed this self confidence due to the blessings of the 125 crore Indians. This self confidence is developed because of the dreams in the eyes of those 80 crore young people who are less than 35 years of age. I tell the world to imagine, I ask the developing and prosperous nations to imagine about 2030. By 2030 they will have numerous industries, several jobs but will they have the work force? All the prosperous nations of the world are ageing very fast. They lack the young manpower and hence they will have to get it from outside. The only nation to fulfill the workforce requirements of the entire world by 2030 is India. Hence we have started focusing on it from now itself and our priority is skill development. We have a mission called Skill India. Earlier India was famous as Scam India. We want to change it to skill India hence we are focusing on skill development. I have various ideas for skill development too. Firstly we want to conduct a manpower mapping across the world, assessing the manpower needs of various countries. There are many countries who would require Maths and Science teachers, some nations might be requiring nurses. Some nations would be desiring artisans. There will be different types of needs. So we will map the workforce requirement of the world and prepare the manpower accordingly and hence the skill development mission. I would like to bring in all those who have the best arrangements and best plans and schemes for skill development in India. Another I am looking to that kind of skill development which will create entrepreneurs. New start ups for new generation where they engage themselves in new jobs, they become self employed and do not wait for someone to provide employment. They no longer remain job seekers but become job creators. They may employ just two or five people but they become job creators. So we need to emphasize on the skill development required to achieve this entrepreneurship. Thirdly we would like to promote those who want to become self sufficient. They too require a special type of skill development. So emphasizing on skill development, we want to create some value addition. The most corrupt person if is dressed up in Khadi kurta or a formal suit and presses our door bell, we will invite that person, this is the greatest misfortune of our country. But if a poor labourer, or an auto rickshaw driver who is not well clad and comes asking for an address, we generally rebuke them. Why? We are somewhere lacking to give the dignity for a laborer. Till we ensure the dignity of common man, till we develop a habit to respect and give dignity to a laborer, we will not be able to offer what the world requires with enough pride. Today I can say it with pride that whatever jobs the young Indians get, they are ready to do it without any shame or hesitation. They are ready to work hard without any shame or hesitation. It is the result of the changing perceptions. The mindset of the young people has changed. They are ready to work hard, they are ready to work, and we want to provide them opportunities. We want to focus on Human Resource Development. We are thinking at a level above it. India has a lot of talent. There is no dearth of talent. The biggest example of our talent - the recent space shuttle we sent to Mars. We sent a mission to Mars where all the small components were manufactured indigenously. They were mostly made in the small scale set ups in five - six different states. See the talent of our young scientists. They successfully launched the Mangalyan in the very first attempt. The cost was less than the budget of a Hollywood film. If you use an auto for commuting in Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Hyderabad or Bangalore, the travel cost per kilometer is around Rs. 10, and the cost for reaching Mars was only Rs. 7 per kilometer. All I want to say is that the nation has talent. What is the reason that Indian youth made a name for themselves in the IT world. Even in Canada, the Indian IT professionals are demonstrating their talent. The same talent is being shown in America too. But my dear friend we have to find answers to the question that why does an organization like google not come up in India. We put in the hard work whereas they put in the brains. Why is Microsoft not born in India?

Talent is the same, the work is the same, I want to change the environment. I want to give opportunities to our talented youth, so that they can innovate. What is the requirement of the world in the coming days, we should be able to provide that through our innovation. So we plan on skill development for any small work that may be required by a labrourer any by our talented youth. We want to create opportunities of innovation for our youth. We are working in that direction. This time we have proposed AIM, Atal Innovation Mission in our budget this year.  We want to give the youth certain opportunities. What we basically aim is to utilize the youth for taking the nation forward. We want to realize the potential of our youth which is our greatest asset which will be beneficial for the world as well. We may not have diamond mines or petroleum and gas reserves, we might be importing Uranium, but we want to increase our country’s strength in the world with the strength we have. We are moving ahead with this faith.

Today we have taken an important decision in Canada. During my visit, we took an important decision in France and the other one we made in Canada today. Many important things have taken place but there are two things on which people have not paid attention. I don’t know if they see it by the time I return. Maybe they are focusing on something else and probably they will notice it sometime later, may be they notice it in 4-6 months. We made an important decision in France. We asked for nuclear reactors from all over the world for generating nuclear energy. Most of the countries would be reluctant to help. Negotiations would go on for some years and then they would reach a dead end. The issue had been pending for long. Everyone would be skeptical that maybe we will use it to manufacture bombs though they do not stop the ones who make them, nor are they able to stop them. Let me remind you that the world has to think of India. It has to think about the person from the land of Gandhi, from a nation which has never invaded any other country. Is it not a paradox that that a country like ours whose soldiers laid down their lives to ensure peace has been wandering, seeking nuclear reactors. This time a French company has signed a MOU with an Indian company. What makes me happy is the fact that now the nuclear reactor will be made in India. Now reactor will be made but we will require Uranium for nuclear energy. Canada will provide us with Uranium. The whole world is worried because of global warming and discussing climate change. People discuss climate related issues sitting in air conditioned rooms which utilizes maximum energy. If India is successful in environmental protection then we alone will be able to take responsibility for 1/6 part of the world. The biggest role in it would be played by clean energy and, nuclear energy plays an important part there. So we will make a nuclear reactor and will buy Uranium from Canada to produce nuclear energy. Thus we will take up our share of responsibility for issues pertaining to climate change which the world is worried about.

The National Flag of India has four colours. We call it tricolor but actually it has four colours and that is our specialty. I am moving forward with the concept of a four coloured revolution. The Indian Flag has four colours, saffron, white and green and the fourth blue colour is that of Ashok Chakra. I dream of a four coloured revolution. First is the Saffron colour. Now many are not aware of its meaning and keep working on their own conclusion, but that’s their job. Saffron colour is the colour of energy. If we imagine, the seven horse laden chariot of the sun it seems to be of saffron colour. We want to bring this energy revolution in India. So we are simultaneously working on nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, the energy made from biomass, and also subjects pertaining to saving energy.

In our country today, terminology is changing fast. In India the last that was thought was energy generation in megawatts. For the first time we are thinking in terms of Gigawatt. The bowlers who go to bat at the end do they think in terms of making a century? We were playing around megawatt, but for the first time we are moving ahead with the definition of Gigawatt and going ahead with an aim of 175 Gigawatt of renewable energy which will include 100 Gigawatt solar energy, 75 Gigawatt of wind energy. This is what we have dreamt of. We have started an entire movement for the use of LED bulbs, thereby saving energy. We are telling the school children to create an environment of saving energy. We are transparently working, and for LED bulbs, you will be surprised that the previous government procured these bulbs at Rs. 350 in 2012-13, we are purchasing at Rs. 85. Isn’t this transparency, is corruption ending or not? Can we work honestly or not? If we work in great detail, then a change can be brought about. Because the mindset has changed, dear friends, that is why the conditions are changing. The second is the white revolution. In comparison to other countries with cattle giving milk our productivity is very less. The work that entails the use of two animals, we use 20 instead. This is because we lack scientific techniques of cattle rearing.  If the poor in the village has even one cattle, then too he can become self sufficient and does not have to look back. How to increase productivity with the use of scientific methods is the focus of our second White Revolution. Third is the green revolution. Here too the issue is the same. Initially there was five acres land, there were two brothers, now 5 acres needs to be divided between ten brothers, children from two brothers, their children, now a such big family, how can the survival be with 10 acres of land. So how can such a large family sustain on such a limited land. The family can run only when we increase the productivity on that limited piece of land. For this we have started a new initiative. It is called the Soil Health Card. Like we have a health card for our health, the same way we have a health card for the health of our mother earth, to ensure our Mother earth is healthy. Our soil needs to be fed with something else and maybe we are feeding it with something else. How to save Mother earth and for this we have started the campaign of Saving Mother Earth and started the Soil Health Card. Saving water is a global responsibility. Our goal is how to have more crop per drop. We aim at value addition to our produce and provide forward linkages to our farmers. The east of India, which is known for its poverty, can become most prosperous. It includes Bihar, Odisha, Eastern UP, West Bengal and Assam where water is available in abundance. Hence our focus is second green revolution and especially the focus will be on the eastern parts of India. We have to change the face of the villages and the lives of farmers there. Fourth is the Blue Revolution, we have to bring about a blue revolution. When I talk of blue revolution, I am referring to the clear blue skies. A sky free of environmental pollution. My slogan for manufacturing is Zero defect with Zero effect. There should be no defect in what we produce, and produce in a way that it has no adverse effect on the environment. Zero defect, zero effect, a blue sky. And then I come to the blue colour of the sea water. We need blue sky, that revolution also needs to be done and we want a revolution in our marine power too. The condition of our farmers should improve. The seas are full of natural wealth. There is a store house of gas and petroleum. How can these natural resources be best employed for the good of mankind. So we seek all revolutions - Saffron revolution, Green revolution, Blue revolution and White revolution. It encompasses everything; land, water and sky. And so dear brothers and sisters we are scaling new heights of development. I want to inform you dear brothers and sisters from Canada about a few things. When I spoke at the Madison Square I had made a promise about OCI and PIO. I said that they would be merged and that work is over. Everyone with a PIO card will get the benefits of OCI card holders. Secondly OCI will be for a lifetime. Earlier it was for a period of 15 years. You are aware that in the past during your visit you had to report to the police station every 15 days to prove that you are still there and not involved in any nefarious activities. Tell me should you trust me or not? The mindsets have changed. Hence we have decided that OCI card holders need not go to the police stations for attendance anymore. Four generations of OCI have been integrated into this scheme. Four generations have been accepted. At some places some work is still in process. In the next five six months all these processes will be completed.

 We have started an e-portal, from which you can benefit. Tracking, monitoring, feedback are all included in the e-portal. The name of the e-portal is MADAD. We have launched an e-migrate portal, where you can put up your complaints and problems and need not visit the immigration office. You can use the portal and save precious time. Those living outside India who have to send an online application, they can do so using the e-migration facility. You must have seen that there is some or the other crises in some part of the world. Our Indian brothers and sisters are very large hearted. We warn them to come out because of the impending danger. But they feel that the others are nice and will not harm them. We had been warning in Yemen since January. Finally now with great difficulty we were able to evacuate four thousand people. In the past ten months, West Asia has had problems and because of that we have safely evacuated 17000 Indians. My countrymen I want to assure you that we do not see the colour of the passport in the time of crises, we do whatever we can with all our might for own people. But it is my request to Indians all over the world that it will be good that they avoid getting engrossed in crises situation and should come out timely and move forward.

For the first time we have constituted Niti Aayog in place of the Planning Commission. A paragraph in the Niti Aayog documents recognizes the Indian diaspora as a powerful force. They are a strong force in the developmental journey of India and India should think about them. For the first time a specific task has been decided for them. It has been mentioned in their charter. There is a good news for the Canadian friends. We have started the electronic tourist Visa, you can avail its benefits really soon. Secondly, I know, you will not mention it, but sometimes you have problems in receiving the Visa. Isn’t it? Now we have decided to provide it for ten years. If the mindsets have changed then there should be more trust. After all the world survives on trust, my friends. We are working with this thought and will take it forward.  Dear brothers and sisters, I have talked to you for quite long. It gave me pleasure. You gave me honour and respect. I would request all of you, that whatever you have read, whatever experience you have gained, whatever disciplines you have learned, whatever good you have acquired, it should all be useful for India too and for its poor people. Today that we have reached here, we should not forget that at the root of it is the hard work of someone very poor. Someone has suffering so that our lives improve. It is humanitarian that we give back to those who have given us. You should move forward with this thought in mind. Let our devotion towards India remain unparalleled. Once again, I would like to thank Canada for bestowing honour and welcoming me, the Prime minister and his cabinet for their precious time. I thank them from the depth of my heart, the Indo Canadian friendship is such a combination that it enhances the power and it is such a force…….. For example the mathematical equation a2+b2, what result does it give? But suppose its (a+b)2 so what is the result, its a2+2ab+b2. We get that extra 2ab or not. Where did this extra 2ab come from? So when India and Canada come together, you get that extra 2ab. This is our core strength. Let us take this strength forward with this expectations I thank you all once again. My best wishes to you all. You have given me so much respect, love and blessings, I shall remember it forever. I will remember the power of your blessings. I end my speech and send my regards to you all. Close your fists firmly and say along with me. “Bharat Mata ki jai”-“Long Live Mother India”. Not like this, your voice should be heard in India.

“Bharat Mata ki jai”-“Long Live Mother India”.

                                                                          *****

AKT/AK/SH/HS