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Modi urges diaspora to participate in Clean India campaign

Modi urges diaspora to participate in Clean India campaign

Sydney: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said there was no reason for India to lag behind any longer as he outlined the progress of schemes like Clean India and Make in India, and also promised the Indian diaspora visa on arrival and merging of the PIO and OCI cards.

Addressing an euphoric gathering of over 16,000 members of the Indian diaspora, Modi also invited them to join in the Swachh Bharat campaign and contribute towards building toilets in their villages back home in India.

"Do you believe that the country can rise again, become powerful and capable of helping other countries again?" he asked to the loud cheers from the crowd.

"I don't see any reason for the country to remain behind, fate has decided that it must progress," he said to wild cheers.

He promised that the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards would be merged by the time the next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is held in Gurajat in January.

He also announced visa on arrival for Australians and an Indian Cultural Centre in Sydney by February 2015.

Speaking at the Allphones Arena, the prime minister said cleanliness was an area where his government was focusing on.

"Dirt attracts illness and the poor man suffers due to work days lost and monetarily too. I invite your participation in the drive," he said, as the crowd chanted "Modi, Modi".

He also expressed admiration for the dignity of labour he has seen in Australia.

"When I came earlier to Australia, many would ask what have you learnt from Australia - and that is dignity of labour," he said.

He said in Australia people speak with the same respect to a doctor as with a driver and he wants to bring in the same element of dignity of labour in India through the Swachch Bharat campaign.

Referring to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, he said that over 71 million bank accounts have been opened under the scheme in villages and the money deposited amounts to Rs.5,000 crore.

The prime minister spoke for around an hour, with his supporters chanting "Modi, Modi" in between.

Hundreds of fans arrived at the Central Station Monday morning after a 12-hour journey from the Southern Cross station in Melbourne.

He called upon Indians across the world to convert the atmosphere of hope and optimism into a reality of meeting the expectations and aspirations of India's people.

Modi said that on the basis of his experience of the last six months, he could see no reason why the aspirations of millions of Indians could not be fulfilled.

He referred to Swami Vivekananda's dream of seeing Mother India as a 'Vishva Guru' once again, and said he believed that dream would be a reality.

"Do you share the dream?" he asked thousands of cheering people in the arena, according to the official statement on his speech.

He said that he feels a greater sense of responsibility as he is the first prime minister born in Independent India.

"We did not have the fortune to fight for the country's independence. We could not die for India. But we can live for India. So, we will live and struggle for India. Today 125 crore Indians share that dream," he said.

"It took 28 years for an Indian PM to make the few hours' journey to Australia. Now you will not have to wait 28 years," he said, referring to the shared values of democracy, and the love for cricket that India and Australia share.

The prime minister exhorted people to recognise the strength of India's democracy.

"Let us now do all we can for India's benefit. And then India will work for the benefit of mankind," he said.

The prime minister congratulated and complimented the Indian Australian community for working hard and making their karmbhoomi (the land of their work) proud.

He named prominent Indian-Australians who had excelled for Australia in sports and academics.

The prime minister talked about the decision to allow 100 percent FDI in railways.

He said he wanted to do humble things for humble people to make a great improvement in their lives.

Modi spoke of the need to improve access to clean water, electricity and sanitation, inviting the Indian-Australian community to give back to the motherland in whatever way they could.

He spoke of his vision for skill development, and India meeting the skilled manpower requirement of the whole world.

"Governments cannot make a country. People make a country," the prime minister said.

He spoke of his initiative to abolish needless laws and his push for self-certification of documents, the statement said.

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