Bangalore: President Pranab Mukherjee asked the 25 million-strong Indian diaspora to invest in Indian companies and set up new ventures to become partners in achieving economic growth rate of above eight per cent.
He said the country has managed to grow at a rate above eight per cent.
"Due to the slowdown in the global economy and other factors, the growth rates have declined, from 8.4 per cent in 2010-11 to 6.5 per cent in 2011-12, and further to 5.4 per cent in the first half of 2012-13.
"However, as India's economy has demonstrated its ability to weather external shocks in the past, I am hopeful that this resilient character of the economy will help to reverse this short-term deceleration and bring economic growth back to the level of 8 to 9 per cent. You too can become partners in the progress of the nation," he said.
According to Mukherjee, for the accelerated growth of the economy, investment level has to increase.
"A revival of the high investment rate in the country is a must for the economy to regain its 8 per cent plus growth levels. You all could help in the process by investing in Indian companies and establishing new ventures.
"The yield of Indian equity markets is amongst the highest in the world and many of the most famous companies have established business here or seeking to do so," he said.
He highlighted one of his key initiatives as finance minister by opening the country's capital market for Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs).
"Initially, we permitted QFIs to invest in Indian mutual funds and on January 1, 2012, in a far-reaching decision, we opened the doors for them to directly invest in Indian equities," he said.
Mukherjee said India has also set up a friendly regime to enable Indians abroad to remit money to the country.
NRIs can deposit money in the country under the Non Resident External Rupee account, Non Resident Ordinary Rupee account and Foreign Currency Non Resident account banks schemes, he said.
According to the president, net private transfer from Indian diaspora had been close to USD 33 billion during the first half of 2012-13 as against USD 67 billion at the end of October 2012.
"With the knowledge and experience you have gained as academics, scholars, scientists, technologists, professionals and businessmen, you can play a decisive role in the development of India."
He appreciated the role of "Non Resident Keralites", who are working in Gulf countries, saying they "have been important agents in the state's promotion of sustainable development and socio-economic transformation".
Mukherjee highlighted India's deep and enduring relationship with Mauritius and the role played by its President Rajkeswur Purryag, whose roots are of Indian origin.He gave away the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards 2013 to 14 people, including Pruuyag, who was chosen for his outstanding contributions in public service and fostering friendly relations with India.
"India-Mauritius relations continue to grow on the bedrock of the historical and cultural links between the diaspora and India," Mukherjee said.
"It is a matter of pride for every Indian that today there are at least five heads of states or heads of governments and over 70 senior political leaders such as deputy heads of state, speakers and ministers in various countries who can trace their roots to India," he added.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients of the Pravasi samman awards, Subash Razdan, chairman and co-founder of the Gandhi Peace Foundation of the US, which seeks to promote the philosophy of peace and non-violence as pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, said, "We accept the recognition with humility, pride and honour."
Lone woman winner Patricia Maria Rozario, is the first Indian singer of Western classical music to sustain a performing career over 30 years. Along with Zubin Mehta, she is one of the few Indian fellows of the Royal College of Music, UK.
Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, was among those present at the function.
Kerala Governor H R Bhardwaj, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy were among those present at the valedictory.