Patil pitches for private investment in health, edu
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Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 21:25
Jaipur: President Pratibha Patil on Monday pitched for harnessing private investments in the crucial areas of health, education and skill development at a time of "economic uncertainty" and asked the overseas Indian community to be partners in the country's development.

Addressing the valedictory session of the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Patil said India has lifted tens of millions of its people out of abject poverty but the country still has a "very long way to go."

"Health, education and skill development were key areas of the strategy of inclusive development in India's 11th Plan, and they will continue to be focus areas in the 12th Plan.

We must ensure that these sectors receive adequate resources and to ensure that resources are spent to achieve maximum efficiency in terms of outcomes," she told over 1,900 delegates from 60 countries across the globe.

"We also need to harness private investment in these areas at a time of economic uncertainty and profound change in the world. We will continue to actively engage with the overseas Indian community as partners in the development and progress of India," she said.

The President also presented Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to 15 eminent overseas Indians, including to the Chief Guest of PBD 2012 and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

PBD is celebrated every year from January 7 to 9 to commemorate the return of Mahatma Gandhi after his "successful struggle" against apartheid in South Africa, she said.

Patil also said efforts to promote greater exchanges between the youth as an important aspect of forging linkages and maintaining the tradition of close bonds should be maintained.

Lauding the contributions of overseas Indians, Patil said the footprints of the Indian Diaspora are wide-spread and its presence felt in every continent.

"The Indian overseas community is not only large, but is becoming increasingly influential in the economic, professional and political fields, in the countries in which they are now living. We are proud of their accomplishments," Patil said.

Noting that the human society faces the daunting yet inspiring task of forging "sustainability," in all its activities in this century, Patil said while meeting current human needs, the requirements of future generations are also safeguarded.

"It is a great challenge. You all can play a decisive role with the knowledge and experience you have gained as academics or scholars, scientists and technologists, professionals or businessmen," she said.

India deeply cherishes its relationship with the diaspora and the Government is keenly interested in the well-being of the people of Indian origin living overseas, she said and noted the major development in West Asia and North Africa, which is a region of great importance to India because of its traditional warm ties and also because a large number of Indian nationals live there.

"The Government of India had to evacuate about 19,000 Indian nationals from Libya and Yemen.

The Government sent special aircraft and ships to these countries to bring back Indian citizens free of cost.

Similarly, special flights were flown out of Egypt for more than 700 Indian tourists and Indian nationals working with various companies there," she said.

Patil also said the Indian Community Welfare Fund, originally established in 18 countries to provide timely succor to overseas Indians in distress, has now been extended to all Indian Missions and congratulated Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and the Ministry for their "keen concern" for the welfare of Overseas Indians.

She also noted that the Know India Programme brings groups of young overseas people of Indian origin to India, with a view to promote awareness on different facets of life here and the progress made by India in various fields.

"I have had the occasion to meet some of the groups coming under this programme, and in my interaction with them, I have spoken about their abiding links with the country of their origin India," she said.


First Published: Monday, January 09, 2012, 21:25

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