100 years back 9th January 1915 Mahatma Gandhi returned to India to unleash it from the British Rule, Media India group interviewed me, as one of the Non-Resident Indian,on ‘ Where do I see India on global map?’. Here is the extract of Interview by Rajendra Shende:
Q: Where do you see India on the global map now?
Under PM Modi’s stewardship, India is emerging as a country with ‘theme-based’ development that intends to nurture the aspiration of the people at the bottom of the pyramid and ambition of the middle class. Apart from inclusiveness as the strategic dimension its development, leitmotif of the new government is embedded in spiritual motivation through the promotion of yoga and shaping the young Indian minds for a peaceful prosperity. The history of the development of the human civilization has shown that the spiritual, ethical and humane dimension of the prosperity leads to the respect for the ecosystem and sustainable development. I see that India has now at the launch pad of its journey towards such sustainability.
Q. What are your expectations from the new government led by Narendra Modi?
Four key challenges that face India are expected to be on the top of the agenda of the new Government: Inclusive growth, drive against corruption, Climate Change and tackling terrorism. India is endowed with unprecedented percent of young population, which we call as ‘demographic dividend’. But that dividend is not going to be realized automatically. Government should make early start for availing services of youth through out-of-box projects moving away from simply ‘employment guarantee schemes’ that are likely to set complacency among potentially very capable youth. Government is expected to set catalytic policies, lead by examples and prove to be leading the thematic development.
However it is also important that Indian masses and classes should support the new government in the set out journey. I recall what was said by former President of John F Kennedy in his inaugural address in 1961, when he said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
Q.Initiatives such as lifelong visas for the PIOs and recent engagement of PM Modi with the Indian Diaspora of Australia and the US show a positive sign. What is your perspective?
Diaspora’s value in Indian context really goes beyond the amount of Dollar-remittance and the investments made by diaspora in India. They represent the potential force to realize India’s dream and come to India’s help when difficulty arises. In early days of development of United States of America, Europeans migrated there were diaspora for the Europe. That European diaspora’s role in building Europe whenever it was in difficulty and also to make Europe prosperous makes useful reading in history of Europe.
Hence PN Modi’s engagement with diaspora to keep them liked to India’s ambition is the right strategy. His heart-to-heart dialogue with diaspora in Australia and USA is a sign that new government is looking at global 25 million of diaspora beyond USD 75 billion remittances. Along with remittance PM Modi also is encouraging diaspora to ‘remit themselves’ frequently by offering them life-long visa.
Q. In the Upcoming PBD, what are the issues you wish to raise?
Sustainable and inclusive development and reducing India’s dependence on fossil fuel are the key issues that need to be discussed and way forward need to be cast in 2015 PBD. PM Modi should nominate the key personalities and institutions among diaspora to draft a plan in consultation with team India on both these issues.
Actions on these two issues are potential opportunities to put India on inclusive growth path.
Q. Have there been satisfying initiatives taken to engage the women and youth of the Diaspora?
This is the area where lot need to be done to engage talented and well connected youth and women in diaspora. India diaspora, the host country and Indian government can form a golden triangle to explore and exploit the opportunities that would lead to win-win situation.