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New socio-economic initiatives of the govt throw open huge investment opportunities: Union Ministers to PBD delegates
The government has embarked on a comprehensive socio-economic development programme for the country, focusing on aspects such as cleanliness, skill development and building of smart cities. Through these endeavors the government aims to transform India by getting the basics right. These programmes throw open huge investment opportunities and space for fresh ideas and experience sharing.

Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India, while addressing the audience at the 13th Pravasi Bharti Diwas, said PBD was an occasion for overseas Indians to renew their bonds of unity with their mother country and added that India was proud of the success stories of the Indian Diaspora, the real ambassadors of India.

According to a FICCI's statement Naidu advised that the youth should go abroad to learn and earn as much they want but should return to their homeland which at present offers a plethora of opportunities. "We look forward to a resurgent, stable and reformed India under the able guidance of the Prime Minister. With Skills, Scale and Speed as the mantra, Mr. Modi is determined to carry forward the development agenda by focusing on good governance and an inclusive and sustainable growth."

The Minister urged members of the diaspora to come forward and take part in various programmes initiated by the government including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Namani Gange and development of Smart cities.

Uma Bharti, Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejunvenation, pointed out that even though overseas Indians have made a place for themselves in their host countries, the turnout  at this year's convention clearly indicated their commitment and respect for India. 

She added that River Ganga which is the holiest river in India not only has religious significance but is also of considerable economic importance. Thus it is imperative that we all make an earnest effort to contribute to the cause of clean Ganga. 

She said this could be done by not only making a contribution to the Namami Gange Fund but by adopting villages on the banks of river or by undertaking river front development work. She urged all to connect with the cause of Ganga Rejuvenation and take the mission forward so that the future generations are able to receive the blessings of 'Maa Ganga'.

Rajiv Pratab Rudy, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs, said that it was disheartening to note that  though we project human resources to be India's biggest asset, only 2% of the work force was  skilled. This compared poorly with countries like Korea (92%), Japan (72%) and Britain (65%). 

He added that though India has ITIs and other basic infrastructure in place, what remains a real issue is the quality of skills being imparted and the lack of standardization. 

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had novel ideas to overcome these challenges and the Ministry was seriously looking at executing those. Establishing dignity of labor is of utmost importance and will be a priority for the government, he added.

Chaudhary Birender Singh, Union Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, and Drinking Water and Sanitation, said that Indian community overseas through their determination and hard work has emerged triumphant and has carved out a niche for itself. India, he added, had grown rapidly over the past few years, yet about two-thirds of its population lives in villages. A major area of concern was that a lot of young people in these villages remain unemployed.

Action is required on various fronts to nurture growth in Indian villages, said and added that the government had initiated various programmes such as Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, Ru-Urban Mission, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc for the betterment of the villages and sought the support of the Indian Diaspora to make these initiatives successful.

Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, mentioned that the tourism sector contributed just 0.64% to India's GDP. A lot of potential in the tourism sector remains untapped. India had abundant natural beauty, wisdom and firmly subscribed to the credo of 'Athithi Devo Bhav'. Yet, we continue to lag  in many ways.

He added that we need to work on aspects such as cleanliness, safety and hospitality to bring about a change and achieve the target of attracting 14 million international tourists ( from 7 million at present) over the next two years. This would require construction of about 2, 00, 000 additional hotel rooms. This would require huge investments and open up opportunities for overseas Indians invest.

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