San Jose: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the 21st century belonged to India and the world had begun to acknowledge the fact, as he addressed an 18,000-strong cheering crowd of Indian community members at the SAP Centre here.
Modi heaped praise on the skill and commitment of Indian IT professionals, saying the magic created by their fingers on the keyboard has given India a new identity in the world.
In a rock star reception like the one he had received at Madison Square Garden last year, Modi said: “Sometime ago, India was striving to join with the world, but today the times have changed and the world is thirsting to join with India.”
“The biggest thing, American citizens feel proud of is the people of Indian origin,” the Prime Minister said. “I congratulate you for this, I salute you.”
He also asked the crowd for a “certificate” of his performance in the 16 months he has been in power. “Did I live up to my promises, working day and night, and the responsibility that I have undertaken…Have I lived up to that?” Modi asked the rapturous crowd who broke into loud cheers and chants of “Modi, Modi”.
The Prime Minister said he was visiting the West Coast after 25 years and seeing a “vibrant picture” of India in the large Indian tech community that lived and worked there. He said he did not see the large numbers of Indians working in the US and other foreign countries as a brain drain, but as a “brain deposit”.
He said he was trying to include space technology in the work of the government, and that after his persuasion 170 government departments are using space technology for connectivity and for providing easier governance.
He also outlined his government’s JAM initiative — J for Jan Dhan financial inclusion programme, A for Aadhar unique identity card and M for Mobile governance. He said the linking of the three would help eradicate corruption in the system.
He criticised the previous governments for not having opened up the banking sector to the poor despite nationalizing the banks around 40 years ago. “I am sad to say that despite the nationalisation half the people of the country had never seen the doors of a bank,” he said, adding that without financial inclusion a country cannot progress.