‘Government has made attempts to meet expectations of people regarding governance, public services’

The government hoped to bring back the rhythm of the growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of 9 to 10 per cent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday, inaugurating the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) here.

“Our domestic savings rate, which now stands at 33 to 35 per cent of our GDP, will facilitate the realisation of our growth objectives,” he said.

The government had made serious attempts to address the rising expectations of people with regard to governance and public services and was committed to providing security of education, nutrition and health to every Indian.

Dr. Singh expressed the hope that some legislations on the government's agenda would bring similar impacts like the RTI Act did in bringing transparency to governance.

Indian democracy had deepened and gained in strength and vitality, as more and more people from the disadvantaged sections of society had secured their rightful place in the economic and political processes over the past years.

“We wish to unleash the vast human potential of the many millions who have been on the margins of our society so far,” he said.

Dr. Singh launched a website of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDFOI), a trust under the aegis of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

It will provide a credible window for overseas Indian philanthropy for the country's social development.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, who is the chief guest at the three-day festival that began on Saturday, said the role of the diaspora was not just limited to investments and socio-economic development, but they also helped create a positive image of the country of their origin.

The function represented a spirit of unity and cooperation and provided a platform for diaspora engagement, she added.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced the launch of an “Apne Rajasthan Ko Janiye” (know your Rajasthan) programme, under which the State government would invite 50 youths from among the NRIs and PIOs every year to visit and experience Rajasthan. The State would bear 90 per cent of the airfare and make full arrangements for stay and travel.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi threw light on the key initiatives of his Ministry for the welfare of overseas workers, including the Indian Community Welfare Fund and bilateral social security arrangements with over a dozen countries.

The subsequent sessions during the day were devoted to themes of economic liberalisation, partnering for prosperity and shared connectivities.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore delivered the PBD oration at a session presided over by Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure.

The inaugural session witnessed some tense moments as the auditorium was packed beyond its capacity.

A large number of people, including delegates, squatted on the floor even as most of the chairs in the media enclosure were occupied by the government officers.