Millennium Post

Defeated Congress in depression

War is not all about attack. History has shown that tactical retreat as a war strategy had succeeded in winning more wars by entrapping advancing enemy than the show of blind belligerence by a brigade. Unfortunately, the use of tact is not a very strong point of this last Lok Sabha poll defeated Sonia-Rahul led Congress party. Its leaders are speaking in babel of tongues when they should hold them and judge every side-effect carefully before making their tongue movements in public. The latest outburst by some loose-tongued Congress satraps to publicly badmouthing the rousing rockstar-like reception to prime minister Narendra Modi by persons of Indian origin (PIO) and Indian immigrants in Australia at Sydney, these leaders have only exposed their pettiness and political jealously putting their party in a very poor light before the general public both at home and abroad.

The Congress leaders saw in such receptions- first, in New York, last month, and now in Sydney- nothing positive. Instead, they smelt a PMO spin and money-making venture by the reception organisers. They are obviously out of their senses and totally tactless.

The truth is no earlier Indian prime minister has ever thought of making an initiative to connect with PIOs and Indian immigrants living abroad. It is Narendra Modi’s out-of-the-box thinking and practical- though non-conventional- ways to connect with the Indian diaspora to reap political benefit for BJP not only abroad but, more importantly, also at home through their relatives and friends living here. One must also give the prime minister the full mark to use the opportunity to ignite a sense of Indianness and passion among the long ignored Indian diaspora abroad and make them feel proud of their origin. PIOs in the USA, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Fiji, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, West Indies and other countries are increasingly participating in the political process of their host countries and economy, influencing their policies and contributing to their scientific, technological, management and cultural excellence. It is another matter that a large number of Indian immigrants are also directly contributing billions of dollars through annual repatriation to their families, friends and alma matter back home.

The Congress party, which had been in power for over four decades, and its prime ministers have done little to express solidarity and oneness with the Indian diaspora to win their respect and confidence despite the latter’s huge contribution to India’s economic stability and, indirectly and influence their relatives and friends to help boost its election prospects. A recent World Bank report has, once again, ranked India in the top of its list of global inward remittances. Last year, India received remittances as large as $70 billion.

China came 2nd. India has held on the top position for the past 5 years in a row now. It is a common knowledge that behind China’s massive economic growth in the last two decades is the contribution of the overseas Chinese investors and inward remittances by Chinese immigrants abroad. Who would know it better than those Congress satraps, upset with Narendra Modi’s reach-out approach to NRIs and PIOs and the tumultuous ovation he has been receiving everywhere from them, that out of India’s average current external debt of over $400 billion, a substantial amount of short-term debt is on NRI account.

The short-term debt is around 44 per cent of the country’s external borrowing, of which nearly 30 per cent is on NRI account. What is wrong if an Indian prime minister recognises their contribution, reassures them with his presence in their midst, showers affection and tries to strengthen their bonds towards India for the benefit of Indian economy and people? How can any Indian prime minister stay aloof to the Indian diaspora, who, according to the Congress-led UPA period ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA), number over 50 million. Some 25 million NRIs, or a half of this number, now contribute to the inward remittances? Every year they send billions in dollars and other hard currencies in remittances to their families back home. There are many households who are dependent on this money that are sent to them by their family member’s working abroad. These remittances form around 22–23 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange income.

Around 4.5 per cent of the Indian household receives regular remittance. It acts as a maintenance allowance for the recipient’s household. States receiving them include Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It also contributes to around three to four per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Thus these private transfers are helping to support India’s balance of payment. In 2012, inward remittances exceeded the FDI inflow of $ 46.84 billion. It shows how much important are those Indian immigrants and their inward remittances to Indian economy.

Congress must thank prime minister Narendra Modi for trying to directly connect with overseas Indians and PIOs and reaching out to them, being present at their receptions and enthralling the audience with his typical nationalist utterances punctuated with puns, metaphors and homours to reach their heart. Congress should not grudge if the organisers collect contributions from participants in these receptions to accord glitzy welcome to India’s prime minister. After all receptions and rallies- political or not- don’t come free unless those Congressmen have different experience back home like collecting backdoor funds through so-called sponsors. The rude, mindless Congress reaction to receptions to Modi by enthusiastic rich overseas Indians is unbecoming of the party, whose founders and leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, its first president W C Bonnerjee, Subhas Chandra Bose, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru, were mostly foreign-returned to launch the country’s freedom movement. IPA

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