FEEL OUR LOVE
Urging India to consider NRIs as "its own", London-based industrialist Lord Swraj Paul said they have remitted almost USD 65 billion in the past six months through deposits in the country. Lord Paul, who is founder-chairman of the UK-based Caparo Group, regretted that India "tends to forget" the contribution of non-resident Indians (NRIs) to the country's development. "Even now, as late as last year or this year, when the financial crisis hit India, they (the government) are finding our banks are suffering from a lot of non-performing assets (NPAs). The NRIs have come to the country on the call of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," he said at a dinner hosted in his honour by the NRI Institute here last night. "Almost USD 65 billion have come in the last six months from NRI deposits," Lord Paul added. "Somehow, India tends to forget what the NRIs have contributed. They are the ones who came to India's help in the 1990s, when the government of India opened the business...," he added. Lord Paul said he hoped the Indian government and the people would consider NRIs as their own. He said the community is as proud of India as anybody in India. On the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, he said the Indian voter cannot be influenced by bribes. "All this is rubbish, whether the papers here or in Europe or the world, say that the Indian voter is bribed or this or that. He votes exactly where he wants to vote. And always in India, my view is, that the only winner is he, the Indian voter," he added. India, the world's largest democracy, is in the midst of an election and the voter turnout is huge, which is not the case in any western country, he said. Lord Paul also said political parties should focus on real issues, such as education and poverty alleviation, for the betterment of the country. "Nobody has talked about education, nobody has talked about what is the condition of the people below the poverty line. Isn't it time that voters should demand some explanation from all the political parties, why they are not going, where they should be? I hope some day good sense will prevail," he said. Lord Paul, who is also Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Westminster, stressed on the need to further improve education in the country and make it more global in perspective.