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Modi hits out at ‘political worshippers’ of black money

 BENGALURU, Jan 8 - Castigating the opponents of demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took a swipe at those calling the government’s move ‘anti-people’, saying these were ‘political worshippers’ of graft and black money which had adversely impacted the economy and polity.

“It is unfortunate that some political worshippers (rajnaitik poojari) of black money are calling our efforts anti-people,” he said in his address at the 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) here.

Modi said the government had taken up ‘a big fight’ against corruption and black money, which had been gradually making the polity, society and administration ‘hollow’.

“...You might have noticed and heard that we have taken up a big fight against black money. Black money and corruption are making our polity, society and administration hollow gradually,” he said at the three-day event, which is being billed as the largest ever.

Asserting that the government was committed in its fight against black money and corruption, the Prime Minister thanked the overseas Indian community for their support to it.

Emphasising the role played by overseas Indians in the country’s development, the Prime Minister said they have made an ‘invaluable contribution’ to the Indian economy by investing about 69 billion US dollars.

“For me, FDI has two definitions – one is ‘foreign direct investment’ and the other is ‘first develop India’,” he said, asserting that “I can say with full confidence that the 21st century belongs to India.”

Indian-origin Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, was the chief guest at the convention, which was attended by chief ministers of several states, including Siddaramaiah of Karnataka, partner to the event, and Central ministers.

Referring to the earlier trend of brain drain, he said, “we want to change brain drain to brain gain” and added that the government will soon launch a skill development programme ‘Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojna’ for the Indian youth seeking employment abroad. He said the government’s effort was to provide maximum facilitation and ensure least inconvenience for those workers who seek economic opportunities abroad.

Modi said remittance of close to USD 69 billion was being made annually by overseas Indians which makes an invaluable contribution to the Indian economy. “We welcome all your efforts that seek to strengthen India’s partnership with the overseas Indian community,” he said. – PTI

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