Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said India has seen rapid transformation over the last four years and is now seen as the brightest spot in the world. Modi is in South Korea to receive the Seoul Peace Prize today.
Addressing the Indian community at an event, Modi targeted the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government saying before 2014 India was counted among the “fragile five” economies.
“When we assumed power in 2014, India was the 11th largest economy, today it is the fifth largest. Our effort is to ensure that it is among the top three economies in 15 years,” Modi said. The world was now looking towards India with hope and it was poised to soon become a $5tn economy, he added.
The prime minister said his government had implemented bold decisions like the goods and services tax (GST) and the country has moved forward towards a cashless economy.
“India has made phenomenal progress in the ‘ease of doing business’ and in ‘ease of living’. The World Bank chief also expressed his surprise to me at the achievement,” he said.
Modi said India received $263bn foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last four years.
“The country has seen a rapid change in the last four years. Almost every person now has a bank account. Close to 330mn bank accounts were opened in 1,000 days,” he said.
Referring to his government’s welfare measures like Mudra, pension and insurance schemes for poor and Ayushman Bharat, which provides 500mn people coverage up to Rs500,000 per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, he said it was the largest health care scheme in the world.
The government has also the unveiled world’s tallest statue, he said. “We have done works, which have strengthened the country – 125,000 villages have been covered by fibre optics; we have set a target to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 and we are leading the way in clean energy,” he said.
The prime minister also referred to arrangements made during the Kumbh Mela and said a leading US daily had written about the cleanliness at the event, which saw millions of people converge in Prayagraj for a dip in the river Ganga.
He also praised the 30mn overseas Indians for having made a name for themselves through hard work. “They are recognised as law-abiding citizens in the countries they live in,” he said.
Terming local Indians as “envoys,” he said while the country has one official ambassador, other Indians living abroad also represent the country.
The prime minister said Indian culture, including yoga, dishes and movies, is getting popular in South Korea. He urged every Indian in South Korea to convince five local families to visit India, saying it will give a big boost to tourism.
Modi said India and South Korea had not just “historical” but “blood” ties as well. He said a princess of Ayodhya got married in South Korea and there is a statue of hers in the Indian city now. The two countries are also connected through Buddhism, he said.
Pointing out that South Korea and India have a “natural and easy” partnership, he said the two countries were moving ahead together to ensure peace and stability in the region.
On the Seoul Peace Prize, he said it was not an honour for him alone but for all Indians and overseas Indians. “It is an honour of every Indian who has worked hard in the last four years,” he said.
He, however, rued that India’s greatest leader Mahatma Gandhi did not get the kind of global recognition he deserved and said people know more about leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King than Gandhi.
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