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Modi in Singapore: My only task is development


Singapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought a greater engagement of the diaspora in making the country strong, pointing to the large requirement of foreign direct investment and stating that his only task was to do development that wipes tears from the eyes of the poor.

Addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora at the Singapore Expo here, Modi spoke of his government’s goals of providing round-the-clock power by 2022, generating 40 percent energy from non-fossil sources by 2030 and generating 175 GW of renewable energy.

The prime minister was greeted by slogans of “Modi, Modi” many times during his speech.

Wearing a kurta, churidar pyjama, and a light-blue half jacket, Modi spoke for over one hour in Hindi, drawing on the country’s culture but also emphasizing that it was important to script history and not rest on the laurels of the past.

Modi evoked smiles with some of his remarks.

India is a great country, but it has a lot to learn from Singapore. The diversity that is in India, it is in Singapore but everyone is a Singaporean and is working shoulder to shoulder to build the country. We have to learn a lot from Singapore,


Modi said he had started his journey with one task before him and needed the blessings of Indians in the country and outside.

I have to accomplish one task and that is development, a development which wipes the tears of the poor, provides employment for youth, prosperity to farmers and empowerment to women.

Referring to the positive image of the country in the world, Modi said the reason for it was “not Modi but you, my brothers and sisters living in foreign countries”.

He said Indians assimilated well with the country they went to.

They live by Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — the whole world is one family,

Indians number about 350,000 in Singapore’s population of about 5.5 million.

The prime minister said FDI has two meanings for him — foreign direct investment and first develop India.

“Today, India needs a large amount of FDI,” he said, noting that FDI flows have gone up by 40 percent over the past 18 months.

Modi said his government had allowed up to 100 percent FDI in the railways and the same would apply in approved high technology areas in defense.

For me railway is not transport only. It is an engine for India’s transformation,

Referring to his government’s steps towards making India clean, he said the people of the country had made up their mind to bring about change.

A country is not built by governments, but by the determination of its people. Today there is an atmosphere that we will take the country forward,

He referred to his humble origins and referred to 40 lakh people giving up subsidy on his call.

Modi said it is understandable that people acted voluntarily on a call by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi but they had acted on “a call by an ordinary man like me, a tea seller”.

Referring to Swami Vivekananda, Modi said he sees the country reaching its old glory of being “Vishwa Guru” (world guru).

Modi said he had said during pre-election interviews that India will walk as an equal in the international arena.

“I have fulfilled that promise. India is full of self-confidence. The world has begun to recognize the power of 125 crore Indians,” he said, adding that the world no longer sees India as a market but is keen to forge partnerships.

My effort is that India has the best of what the world has to offer and it also adds to the best that we have,

Modi said the esteem for India’s currency should rise in global markets and the decision to float rupee bonds in the London Stock Exchange was a move in that direction.

This means invest in rupee, get back in rupee. Enter the world market in rupee,

Modi said the rupee bond was a sign of economic prosperity and should be seen with pride by every Indian.

Noting that 65 percent of the population was under 35, he said India was collaborating with countries like Singapore, the US, and Germany for imparting skills.

(Inputs from IANS)

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After Donald Trump’s Anti-immigrant policies, Singapore is next to shut down Indian Techies

Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism.

Singapore, Wikimedia

April 13, 2017: Not only Trump’s America vouches for Anti-immigrant policies, an Island nation has been clamping down on Indian tech workers as part of its efforts to make sure corporations give locals a fair chance and to address concerns about overpopulation. Singapore having a population of 5.4 million people and a manpower of which nearly 40% constitutes nonresidents,  has been ramping up measures to ensure that firms have a “Singapore core.”

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

“They realized that the total number of people they have… far exceed the optimal level [the country can accommodate],” Gagan Sabharwal, director of global trade development at Nasscom, told Quartz.

“That’s when they started shutting the tap down by making it more expensive, making it more cumbersome for companies.”

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, has noted a decline in visas over many years but says things have become individually tough since last year.

In the beginning, Sabharwal states, Singapore started raising salaries required for foreign workers every six months or so by more than 10%. However, promptly, he said, local workers began whining that they weren’t getting paid as generously as their foreign counterparts.

The previous month, Singapore raised the minimum salary that a firm has to pay a local worker in order to count them as a full-time local employee while estimating how many foreign workers it is allowed to hire.

Singaporean officials are also reportedly asking for information in relation to work-permit applications for Indian tech workers that the firms believe is contradictory to a 2005 economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Quartz reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with interrogations and will update if they counter.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower also necessitates that the companies must provide it with the relevant information on the number of applications submitted by Singaporeans, such as, whether the Singaporeans were interviewed for a vacancy, and the firm’s existing share of Singaporeans in professional, managerial, and executive positions.

In 2016, there were more than 300 applications pending for foreign employment passes after 100 firms came under extra scrutiny for not giving Singaporeans a fair chance.

Work-permit processes have stiffened lately since Singapore affirmed the Fair Consideration Framework, a slew of rules in place since October 2015 to make sure employers really are considering Singaporeans for vacancies. It requires for the company with over 25 workforces to advertise an opening for two weeks before applying for an employment pass for an international worker to fill that space.

“All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,” Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar told Times of India.

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The total population of Indian techies in Singapore has desiccated to under 10,000, NDTV reported.

“Since about last summer, the approval rates have actually fallen drastically. Most companies are only getting a trickle through,” tells Sabharwal of Nasscom.

Of course, it’s not just Singapore that’s shutting the door on Indian techies, Sabharwal says. The UK, Canada, and the US—the three countries that account for the mainstream of India’s software export revenue—all have made it harder for Indians to drift to each of those locations.

Each of these mentioned places poses a unique problem further than the legal woes: For instance, a resurrection of white supremacist organizations nationwide and xenophobic political rhetoric have fueled hate crimes in the US. While such acts of violence are unheard of in Singapore, nevertheless an unwelcoming sentiment toward Indians has been pervading the Asian country too.

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The city-state—where nearly 10% of the citizens are of Indian heritage and Tamil is an official language—has seen discrimination against prospective home renters of Indian-origin. Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism. Meanwhile, a new political party, SingFirst, says the city-state needs to focus on “growing our own timber,” when it comes to the workforce, and be less reliant on foreign labor.

Local hiring is also easier said than done, according to Sabharwal, who says it is difficult to find inhabitants to fill positions. He added that companies need to make more of an effort on providing skills training—or be prepared to move operations out.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Singapore’s home minister, himself of Indian origin, has notified that the city-state must be on guard against populism that could grind ethnic divisions.

The new effort to promote local hiring is also at odds with how Singapore has billed itself over the last half century, as an attractive destination for the globe-trotting highly skilled worker.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94