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Rahul Gandhi says lack of jobs, rise of hatred are main threats facing India

 
Lack of jobs, rising hatred are biggest threats facing India: Rahul Gandhi
Reaching out to the Indian diaspora across the world, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said there were two clear threats facing the country -- the Government's inability to provide jobs to the people and a rise in the forces of hatred and division -- and said this was not a fight that could be won without them.
 
"India today is free but once again it is under threat," he said at a convention of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in Manama, Bahrain on his first visit abroad after taking over as president of the 132-year-old party that steered India's freedom struggle.
 
"There are two clear threats facing our country today. The first is our government’s inability to provide jobs for our people. Our main competitor, China. produces 50,000 jobs every 24 hours. India currently produces 400 jobs in the same amount of time. It’s an important figure. So I will put it another way. What China does in two days takes India one year to do. These are not my figures. These are figures of the Govt of India. These are figures stated by a Minister in our Parliament.
 
"Job creation in India is at an 8-year low. New investments are the lowest they have been in 13 years; bank credit growth has sunk to a 63 year low," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that, to make matters worse, many in the Indian diaspora had lost hard-earned money because of arbitrary decisions like demonetization, which had landed a crippling blow to India’s overall economic growth.
 
"The fact is that India can simply not afford this. We are the second most populous country in the world. Every day 30,000 new youngsters come into India’s job market. Not providing education and jobs to these youngsters is a recipe for disaster. The government's failure to create jobs is resulting in tremendous anger and unrest in India. The youth are asking a very simple question. What are we to do in our future? This anger is visible in the streets and is rising rapidly," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said the tragedy  was that, instead of focusing the attention of the people on what is critical - the removal of poverty, job creation and the building of a world class education system - there was instead  instead a rise in the forces of hatred and division. 
 
"Instead of accepting that we are struggling to create jobs, instead of uniting people together, all communities and religions to face the challenge, the government is busy converting the fear being generated in our jobless youth into hatred between communities.
 
"Tragically the conversation in our country today is not about jobs, healthcare or education. Today the only thing India talks about is what you are allowed to eat, who is allowed to protest, and what we can say or rather what we cannot say. Activists and journalists are threatened; they are shot dead for expressing their views. People are killed because of their religious beliefs. Dalits are beaten into submission. Judges investigating sensitive cases die under mysterious circumstances. And through all this, the government has nothing to say," he said.
 
"India has been taken off its path of progress. Indians – at home and abroad are shocked to see this ugly effort which seeks to deviate us from our ancient philosophy and from the path our country has followed for thousands of years," he said.
 
"This is not a fight that can be won without you. It is a fight to return us to our beloved ideals. You, your openness, your skills, your talent, your tolerance, your patriotism is what India needs today. You have shown us and the world how you  have built the countries you have journeyed to. You have lived with people of different nationalities; different religions, different philosophies and you have done so both by learning from them and by teaching them about our great Indian traditions and heritage," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi began by saying that he was in Bahrain to tell overseas Indians and persons of Indian origin what they meant to the country. "That you are important, to tell you that there is a serious problem at home, to tell you that you are a part of the solution. And that I am here to build a bridge between here, wherever you are in the world and home.
 
"I represent the Congress Party of India -a party that was born to bring the people of India together, to bring people of all communities, all religions together. This has been our mission from the beginning. And this is why all of us are in politics and this will be our mission till the end. 
 
"The Congress's vision is one that builds bridges and is compassionate - it is a tried and tested vision that has fought for India in its toughest moments. Ours, more than any other vision, because of the struggle and because of the victory in India's liberation, is a vision that has strong roots in the NRI community. People forget this. But our greatest leaders, whether it is Mahatma Gandhi ji, whether it is Jawaharlal Nehru ji, whether it is Mr. Ambedkar, all of them were once NRIs, all of them were once what you are," he said.
 
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"And a little over a hundred years ago, that great man Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. He wasn’t alone. With him stood a close knit group of visionaries, each one a giant in his own right. And together they inspired the world and generations beyond their own. They helped build an Indian vision. It was not a vision for one community, for one caste, for one state. It was a vision for the entire country and it was a vision that was appreciated by every single person on the planet," he said.
 
"The most important thing about any human being is that he knows who he is and where he comes from. Where do you come from? You come from those brave, visionary men and women who delivered India its freedom. The very idea of challenging the British, who ruled India for centuries came from people like Mahatma Gandhi, came from people like Ambedkar ji. These were all NRIs. They were people who like you were open to the outside world. Like you, all of them had lived abroad and seen the shortcomings of their oppressors. They lived abroad and worked and studied and watched. And when the time was right and their country needed them, they returned to fight for the nation they loved," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said India today had the largest diaspora of any country in the world, with more than 16 million people of Indian origin living abroad.
 
"The countries of the Gulf region are among India’s most important trading partners. The largest numbers of Indian expats live here. India is also the largest remittance-receiving country in the world. You send almost $70 billion, that is, 3.5% of India’s GDP.
 
"You are responsible for creating massive wealth globally and for giving back more than three times your fair share to India each year. Here in the Gulf, NRIs send back more than half of the remittances that India gets from around the world.
 
"Many of you and your ancestors came to these foreign lands with nothing but dreams. You came empty handed. And out of those dreams you have built entire nations. All of you in this room are proof that India can bridge any gap that is put before it. And no global vision for India can be built without you. It is impossible, let me state from this stage, that it is impossible to build a global vision for India in the 21st century without our brothers and sisters who live abroad. 
 
"Together, we must steer India back to its original strengths. We need to make India the centrepiece of ahimsa, of non violence, of compassion. We need to bring our conversation back from violence and hatred to one of progress, jobs and love between our people. And we cannot do that at home without our largest skill base on the planet – all you people in this room.
 
"I have not come here to tell you anything really. No. I’ve come here to ask for your help. I’ve come here to ask you for your skills, for your guidance, and for your understanding. We need you to help us fight these forces of anger and hatred. We need you just as we needed you and our ancestors needed you in 1947 to protect the idea of India that we so dearly love and cherish," he added.
 
NNN
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