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Let rural India shine: NRIs

Wrapping up their revelry in the capital's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Sunday, NRIs sought to extend the NDA government-touted "feel good" factor and the "shine" to all parts of the country.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2004 14:44 IST

The party over, it's time to ponder.

Wrapping up their revelry in the capital's Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Sunday, NRIs sought to extend the NDA government-touted "feel good" factor and the "shine" to all parts of the country and not just the metros.

A buoyant Centre has been aggressively promoting the "India Shining" media campaign to highlight progress in several fields. But leading NRIs, who converged on the national capital, felt the "shine" must emanate from all parts.

"I saw India shining only in big cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Just venture out of these places and you don't see any shine. I went to Dadri on the outskirts of Delhi and the story there was totally different," said Hema Sharda, a professor in an Australian university. Addressing the NRI conclave on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani had said: "If it feels good, it is India 2003."

"The party is over and it's time for us to act. Our NGO, NRI Home Coming, has managed to tie up with a number of like-minded people and we will expand our work in villages here," S Ramakrishnan said. US-based Mohit L. Jain favoured a "bottoms up" approach as the "trickle down" effect was not working too well.

"I and my group will focus on the poorest of the poor. Alleviating them will accelerate our development. Why are we talking of becoming a global superpower in 2020 when we can be there in 2010," he said. Jain is taking a group of NRIs to some villages in Haryana and Rajasthan. Lord Meghnad Desai — a member of the British House of Lords and eminent development economist from the London School of Economics — felt that the Divas should be extended from pravasis to pardesis. "Let it be the annual Indian Davos where global investors can get together and make plans for the country," he said.

First Published: Jan 12, 2004 00:00 IST