The Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, has requested the 1.5 million residents of Indian origin in Britain to make some contribution to the Clean Ganga Project, which looks to clean the river that runs for 2,500 km. The Indian Government led by Narendra Modi recently provided the Supreme Court a blueprint of the steps that it is planning to take in order to execute the arduous project. It is supposed to take 18 years and crores of rupees need to be invested in the same in order to complete it. In the first phase of the project the Government has marked out 118 towns.
These towns are located on the banks of the river and they will be part of a sanitation drive as well as get fitted with better facilities for treating waste water in order to ensure the long-term well-being of the biggest river in the country. In areas such as Kedarnath, Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahabad, Kanpur and Patna the ghats would be developed and beautified as important components of the project. On October 17 the External Affairs Minister of India started the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a convention of the Indian diaspora, in London. Philip Hammond, the UK counterpart of Swaraj, was there at the meeting.
Smart Cities Project and Metro Rail Project
At the meet she also talked about several other projects like the Smart Cities Project and the Metro Rail Project that are proofs of the growth India is looking to achieve as a country. She requested the diaspora members to make meaningful contributions to the country of their origin through these projects and ones which may come up later. In the same vein she also added that the Government was looking to improve the existing standards and come up with better policies with an aim to make the whole system more efficient and accountable. This, she said, would also help make the Government take decisions in less time.
She also went on to say that the Government was looking to make the various processes more transparent and create an environment that is more favourable for business. There are lots of opportunities, as she stated, for the Indian diaspora to be a part of the progress the country is making and is looking to make. The following domains, according to her, were highly important:
- Science and technology
- Development of infrastructure
- Innovation and research
- Knowledge economy
- Development of youth
- Development of skills
The Government of the UK has decided to build Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in 2015 at the Parliament Square. Swaraj has welcomed the decision saying that it will bear testimony to the commendably positive bilateral relations shared by the Governments of both the countries. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and William Hague, the erstwhile Foreign Secretary of Britain, had visited India recently when they had announced that the said statue would be installed. The statue is supposed to be placed next to Winston Churchill, who had been the PM of the UK during the Second World War, and Nelson Mandela, one of the revered figures of the apartheid era of South Africa.