Press Releases

Prime Minister's address to Indian Community in Houston, Texas

September 22, 2019

Howdy my friends, 

This scene, this atmosphere is just unimaginable. And when it comes to Texas then everything has to be big and grand, this is ingrained in the nature of Texas. 

Today the spirit of Texas is also being reflected here. The presence of this humongous crowd is not just limited to arithmetic, today we are witnessing a history in the making here and even chemistry too. 

This energy here in the NRG is a witness to the growing synergy between India and America. 

Whether it is the presence of President Trump here or the presence of many elected representatives of the great democracy of America be they Republicans or Democrats, their presence here and praising India, lauding me, congratulating me, what Steny Hoyer, Senator Cornyn, Senator Cruz and other friends have said about progress of India and praised us, it is honoring the capabilities of Indians in America and their achievements. 

This is reverence for 1.3 billion Indians. Other than the elected representatives there are many other American friends who are present in this program today. On behalf of every Indian I would like to extend a hearty welcome to them also. 

I also congratulate the organizers of this event. I have been told that a large number of people had registered for this but due to lack of space, thousands of people could not come here. I personally apologize to those who could not come here. 

I would also express my deep appreciation to the Houston and Texas administration, who handled the situation and streamlined the arrangements in such a short time after a sudden change of weather two days ago, and as President Trump was saying, they proved that Houston is strong. 

Friends

The name of this program is Howdy Modi, but Modi alone is nothing. I am an ordinary person working as per the wishes of 130 crore Indians. And so when you have asked Howdy Modi, then my heart says the answer to that really is- All is well in India. 

Friends

Our American friends must be wondering what I have said. President Trump and my American friends, I have said only this much - Everything is fine but in some different languages ​​of India. 

Our languages are a great identity of our Liberal and Democratic Society. For centuries hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, have been moving forward in our country with a sense of co-existence and they still remain the mother tongue of millions of people. 

And not only language, our country has different sects, dozens of denominations, different methods of worship, hundreds of different regional cuisines, different clothing patterns, different seasons, which made this land amazing. 

Unity in diversity is our heritage, this is our specialty. This diversity of India is the very basis of our Vibrant Democracy. This is our source of power and inspiration. Wherever we go, we carry the rites of diversity and democracy along with us. 

Today, more than 50 thousand Indians sitting here in the stadium are present here today as the representatives of our great tradition. 

Many among you present here have also made active contribution in the general elections of 2019, the biggest celebration of democracy in India. It was indeed an election that brought out the power of Indian Democracy to the world. 

More than 610 million voters took part in this election. In a way, almost double the total population of America. There were also 80 million youth who were the first time voters. 

This time highest number of women voters had voted in the history of democracy of India and this time the highest number of women have also been elected. 

Friends

The 2019 general elections made another new record. It happened after six decades that a government returned with even greater numbers than earlier after completing their previous five year term. 

Why did all this happen, what caused it? No, it is not because of Modi, it happened because of the Indians. 

Friends

Indians are identified by their virtue of patience but now we are impatient for the development of the country and to take the country to newer heights in the 21st century. Today India's most popular word is development, today India's biggest mantra is - Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. Today, India's biggest policy is public participation. Today, the most popular slogan of India is accomplishment by way of resolve and today India's biggest resolve is - New India. 

Today India is working day-night to fulfill the dream of New India and the most important thing in it is that we are not competing with anyone but ourselves. 

We are challenging ourselves. We are changing ourselves. 

Friends

Today, India wants to move ahead faster than ever. Today, India is challenging the thinking of some people, whose thinking was that nothing can change. 

In the last five years, 130 crore Indians have together achieved such results in every field, which no one could have imagined earlier. 

We are aiming high, we are achieving higher. 

Brothers & sisters, 

In seven decades the rural sanitation of the country had reached only 38 percent. In five years, we built more than 110 million toilets. Today rural sanitation is at 99 percent. 

Cooking gas connections in the country were also close to 55 percent only. Within five years, it reached 95 percent. In just five years, we have connected more than 150 million people with gas connections. 

Earlier rural road connectivity in India was also at only 55 percent. In five years, we took it to 97 percent. In just five years, we have built over 2 lakh kilometers of roads in rural areas of the country, i.e. 200 thousand kms. 

Less than 50 percent people in India had bank accounts. Today, in five years, about 100% of the families have joined the banking system. In five years, we have opened new bank accounts of more than 370 million people. 

Friends, 

Today, when people are not worried about basic necessities, they are able to dream big and are putting all their energies in the direction of achieving them. 

Friends, 

Ease of doing business is important for us as much as the ease of living and its path is empowerment. When the common man of the country is empowered then the social and economic development of the country will move forward at a very fast pace. 

Let me give you an example today. Nowadays it is said that - Data is the new oil. You Houstonites know very well what it means when it comes to oil. 

I will also add to this that Data is the new gold. The entire focus of Industry 4.0 is on data. If in the whole world, listen carefully, if the lowest price data is available anywhere in the whole world, then that country is India. 

Today in India, the cost of 1GB of data is only around 25-30 cent i.e. just a quarter of a dollar and here I would also like to mention that the average world price of 1GB of data is 25-30 times more than that. 

This cheap data is becoming a new identity of Digital India in India. Cheap data has also redefined governance in India. Today, about 10 thousand services of Central Government and State Governments are available online in India. 

Friends, 

There was a time when getting a passport took two to three months in India. Now the passport comes home in less than a week. You probably know more than me about the kind of problems that were there with the visa earlier. Today US is one of the biggest users of India's e-visa facility. 

Friends, 

There was a time when the registration of a new company took two to three weeks. Now a new company can be registered within 24 hours. There was a time when filing a tax return was a big headache. It used to take months to get tax refund. 

Now you will be shocked if you hear about the changes that have taken place. This time, on August 31, in one day, I am talking about one day only, about 50 lakh people i.e. 5 million people have filed their income tax returns online in one single day. 

That means 5 million returns in just one day, i.e. more than double the total population of Houston. And another biggest issue which was there earlier that tax refund used to take months, now it is directly transferred to the bank in 8 to 10 days. 

Brothers and sisters, 

Any country which is striving for rapid development, welfare schemes are necessary for its citizens. Along with running welfare schemes for the needy citizens, quite a few things are also being bid farewell to build a new India. 

We have given as much importance to the welfare as we have given to the farewell. On this 2 October, when the country celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India will give farewell to open defecation. 

India has also given farewell to over 1500 very old and archaic laws in the last five years. The web of dozens of taxes in India also used to create a hindrance for fostering a business friendly environment. 

Our government gave farewell to this web of taxes and implemented the GST. After so many years, we have realized the dream of one nation one tax in the country. 

Friends, 

We are also challenging corruption. We are taking one step after another to give it farewell from every level. In the last two-three years, India has also given farewell to more than three and a half lakh dubious companies. 

We have also given farewell to more than 80 million fake names which existed only on documents and were taking advantage of government services. And friends, can you imagine how many rupees have been saved from falling into the wrong hands by removing these fake names, about $ 20 billion. 

We are building a transparent ecosystem in the country so that the benefits of development reach every Indian. And brothers and sisters, if even a single Indian stays away from development, that too is not acceptable to India. 

For 70 years our country had yet another big challenge to which India has now given farewell just a few days ago. 

Yes, you got it. That is the issue of Article 370. Article 370 had deprived the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh from development and equal rights. Forces of terrorism and separatism were taking advantage of the situation. 

The rights given by the Constitution of India to the rest of Indians are now available to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh too. 

Discrimination against women, children and dalits has now ended there. 

Friends, 

It was discussed for hours in both the Upper House and the Lower House of our Parliament, which was telecast live in the country and the whole world to see. In India, our party does not have a majority in the Upper House i.e. in the Rajya Sabha, yet both our parliament’s Upper House and Lower House have passed the decisions related to it by two-thirds majority. 

I urge you all, I urge you all to give a standing ovation for all the MPs of India. 

Thank you very much. 

Whatever India is doing for itself that is also troubling some people who are not able to manage their own country. These people have made hatred towards India the center of their politics. 

These are the people who want unrest, are supporters of terror, and nurture terror. Their identity is well known not only by you all but by the whole world. 

Whether it is 9/11 in the United States or 26/11 in Mumbai, where can its conspirators be found. 

Friends, 

The time has come for a decisive fight against terrorism and against those who promote terrorism. I would like to emphasize here that in this fight President Trump has stood firmly against terror. 

We should give standing ovation for President Trump's morale in the fight against terror. 

Thank you. Thank you friends. 

Brothers and sisters, 

A lot is happening in India, a lot is changing and we are moving ahead with our intentions that we have to do a lot more.

We are determined to set new challenges, and to fulfill them. I wrote a poem a few days ago on these very feelings of the country. Today I will recite just two lines from that. As there is not much time, I will not say much. 

The mount of difficulties which is lying there, that is also the tower of my spirits. 

Friends, 

India is not avoiding challenges today, we are taking them head on. Today India insists on complete solutions to the problems, not just on some incremental changes. Today, India is making all that possible which seemed impossible just a while ago. 

Friends, 

India is now gearing up for a $ 5 trillion economy. We are emphasizing on increasing infrastructure, investment and exports. We are moving forward by creating a people friendly, development friendly and investment friendly environment. 

We are about to spend one hundred lakh crores i.e. about $1.3 trillion, on infrastructure. 

Friends, 

In spite of all the uncertainties in the world, India's growth rate has been an average 7.5% in the last five years. And also do keep in mind that if we look at the average of the entire tenure of any government, it has never happened before. 

For the first time, there has been a period of low inflation, low fiscal deficit and high growth. Today India is one of the finest FDI destination in the world. FDI inflow has almost doubled from 2014 to 2019. 

Recently, we have simplified the norms of FDI in single brand retail. Foreign investment in coal mining and contract manufacturing can now be made up to 100%.

I met the CEOs of the energy sector here in Houston yesterday. The decision taken by India for a drastic reduction in corporate tax made all the people very excited. Their feedback is that the decision to reduce corporate tax has led to a very positive message not only in India but also among the global business leaders. 

This decision will make India more globally competitive. 

Friends, 

There is immense scope for Indians to move forward in India, and for Americans in America. The journey of new India for a $ 5 trillion economy and the strong economic growth of America under the leadership of President Trump will give new wings to these possibilities. 

The economic miracles that President Trump mentioned in his address will be icing in the cake. I am going to have discussions with President Trump in the next two to three days. I hope that will yield some positive results too. 

Although President Trump calls me a tough negotiator but he himself specializes in the art of the deal and I am learning a lot from him. 

Friends, 

Our forward march for a better future is going to grow at a much faster pace now. All of you my friends are an important part of this, the driving force behind it. You are far away from your country, but the government of your country is not far from you. 

In the last five years, we have changed both the meaning of dialogue and the way of communication with the Indian diaspora. Now the Embassy and Consulate of India abroad are not just a government office but your first partners. 

The government is also continuously working to protect the interests of our friends working abroad. MADAD, e-migrate, pre-departure training before going abroad, improvement of insurance scheme for overseas Indians, facility of OCI card to all the PIO cardholders, and many such things have been done which have helped overseas Indians both before and after going abroad. 

Our government has also strengthened the Indian Community Welfare Fund. Overseas Indian Assistance Centers have also been opened in many new cities all over the world. 

Brothers and sisters, 

Today, the impression of the message emanating from this platform will give rise to new definitions, new possibilities in the 21st century. We both have the power of same democratic values. 

Both countries have similar resolutions for new construction and both of them will definitely lead us towards a bright future. 

Mr. President, I would like you to visit India with family and give us an opportunity to welcome you. Our friendship will give new heights to the shared dreams and vibrant future of India and America. 

I once again express my heartfelt gratitude to President Trump and the political, social and business leaders of America for coming here. 

I also thank the Government of Texas and the administration here. 

Thank you Houston, thank you America. 
May God bless you all.
Thank you.

Disclaimer: PM's speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of the speech.

 

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