NEW YORK, Sept 28 � Addressing a rapturous crowd of NRIs here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi affirmed today that India would move ahead at a rapid pace and lead the 21st century world, reports PTI.
At a unique event at the Madison Square Garden in the heart of Manhattan at which some 20,000 cheering NRIs were present, Modi said that his big win in the Lok Sabha elections had come with a big responsibility for him which he would fulfil.
Listing out India�s advantages, the Prime Minister said that its three strengths were democracy, demographic dividend in which 65 per cent of its population was under 35 years, and the demand for India because it was a huge market.
Clearly with an eye on the younger generation, Modi said, �We will not do anything which will let you down. My government will be 100 per cent successful in fulfilling the aspirations of the people,� he said, as the crowd repeatedly chanted �Modi-Modi.�
Attired in a saffron Nehru jacket and yellow kurta, the Prime Minister held the packed indoor stadium spellbound, asserting that �our attempt is to make development a people�s movement.�
In his over hour-long speech in Hindi which he began with �Bharat Mata ki jai� while extending greetings for the Navratri festival, Modi promised good governance, saying after a gap of 30 years India has got a Government at the Centre with a clear majority.
Winning elections brought with it a big responsibility, he said. �Ever since I took up this task (as Prime Minister), I have not taken even a 15-minute vacation,� he said.
The Prime Minister said that Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders would get lifetime Indian visa and that American tourists would be given visa on arrival. He announced the merger of PIO and Overseas Citizens of India schemes to facilitate hassle-free travel to the Indian diaspora.
Modi further announced that PIO card holders staying in India on long-term basis would no longer have to report to the local police station.
The Prime Minister said there was no need for any disillusionment. �India is going to march ahead at a very fast pace... The 21st century will be that of India. By 2020, only India will be in a position to provide work force to the world,� he said, while citing examples of the growing global demand for nurses and teachers.
�We are a youthful nation with a very old culture,� he said. Recalling that Mahatma Gandhi turned the freedom struggle into a mass movement, Modi said at that time, every Indian felt part of the crusade for the country�s independence.
On his ambitious mission to rejuvenate the Ganga river, Modi said, �People ask me why I have taken up a difficult task like cleaning of the Ganga. But I tell them people of India have not chosen me for doing easy jobs.�
Referring to India�s successful Mars Mission, he said the cost of travelling in an auto in Ahmedabad is Rs 10 per km, but the 65-crore km journey to Mars cost just Rs 7 per km.