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PM hails remittance role in growth show
Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Sunday

New Delhi, Jan. 7: After a call to turn Mumbai into Shanghai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked persons of Indian origin in Mauritius having roots in Bihar to help “make a Mauritius out of Bihar”.

Inaugurating the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Singh thanked overseas Indians for their remittances, which helped fuel the 9 per cent growth in the domestic economy and the upswing in stock markets. He lauded the Indian-American community for its help in lobbying support for the civil nuclear cooperation deal with the US.

The call to turn Mumbai into Shanghai was made at an economic conference last year and coincided with a period in which the sensex zoomed and modernisation work for Mumbai’s airport started. Today’s call to turn Bihar into Mauritius comes soon after railway minister and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad said the eastern state needed outside “push” to develop.

Singh thanked West Asian NRIs for their investments into India through remittances. According to World Bank estimates, about 25 million overseas Indians residing in 130 countries remitted $23 billion to India in the last calendar year — the largest for any country.

The Prime Minister said India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies of the world and urged overseas Indians to invest in their country of origin.

“India’s growth process creates enormous opportunities for cross-border flow of trade, capital and technology. I would like the overseas Indian community to take full advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

Last year, foreign direct investment worth $7 billion flowed into India. Indians lined up around $18 billion in overseas investments.

Travel reliefs

Persons of Indian origin will now have parity with NRIs on ‘inter-country adoption’ and domestic airfares, the government announced today while spelling out plans to allow overseas Indian doctors to practise in their native country.

The government was also likely to sign social security pacts with the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway which have significant Indian population to protect their interests.

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