President interacts with diaspora delegation

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today met participants of the 8th Know India Programme at Rashtrapati Bhavan and had a lively interaction with them.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has been organising this programme with the objective of familiarising the younger generation of the Indian Diaspora with India.

The programme involves a three-week stay in India by the participants in the age group of 20 to 28 years. The Government of Tamil Nadu and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) are partners with the Government of India.

The more than 30 participants had come from Canada, Fiji, Guyana, Israel, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Reunion Islands, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said.

During the interaction, Ms Patil said that on return to their countries the participants would become ambassadors for India and was happy that the programme allowed youth of Indian origin to meet with Indian youth to create long lasting contacts.

The President was keen to know the impressions of the participants about India before and after participating in the programme. The President was also asked about the social work being done by some of the participants.

The participants said after visiting both rural and urban areas, they were struck by the India's rising economic power, high level of motivation of the people, the intelligence of its people, the country's globalised nature, its vibrancy, love and hospitality of the people despite progress, advances in urban infrastructure and the progress of its women.

The President told the group that India was indeed on the path of fast economic growth, with GDP growth at more than 9 per cent for the past three years and a projection of 10 percent per annum GDP growth in the latter part of the 11th Five Year Plan.

She also spoke about the higher education system and measures taken by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to amend the Constitution to reserve one-third of the seats in local elected bodies for women, so that women could be empowered.

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