Bengaluru, Jan 8: Castigating the opponents of demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said those terming the government's move as 'anti-people' were the "political worshippers" of graft and black money which were making the economy, polity and society hollow.
"Friends you know we have undertaken a big responsibilty in fighting black money and corruption... Black money and corruption have gradually made our polity, economy, society and the country hollow.
"It is unfortunate that there are some political worshippers (rajnaitik pujari) of black money who term our actions against it as anti-people," Modi said at the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention here.
"It is very saddening to see some black money supporters maligning the moves against corruption," he said while thanking the Indian diaspora for supporting the government's steps against corruption and black money.
Emphasising the role played by overseas Indians in the country's development, the Prime Minister said they have made an "invaluable contribution" to the Indian economy by investing over 69 billion US dollars.
"For me, FDI has two definitions -- one is 'Foreign Direct Investment' and the other is 'First Develop India'," he said, asserting that "I can say with full confidence that 21st century belong to India."
Referring to the earlier trend of brain drain, he said "we want to change brain drain to brain gain" and added that the government will soon launch a skill development programme 'Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojna' for the Indian youth seeking employment abroad.
Welcoming the efforts of Indian diaspora to strengthen the country's partnership with the overseas Indian community, Modi said "we don't see the colour of the passports, but the relations written by blood which matter the most."
Encouraging all PIO Card holders to convert their PIO Cards into OCI Cards, Modi said "we have extended the deadline for PIO card conversions to OCI from 31 December 2016, until June 30, 2017 without any penalty."
He also spoke about the various measures for welfare and safety of Indians abroad, from carrying out evacuation of Indians in distress to other steps taken by his government in last two years, specifically mentioning the efforts of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in this regard.
He also said that starting with Mauritius, his government was working to put in place procedures so that descendants of various Indian communities could become eligible for OCI cards, by addressing the difficulties of PIOs in Fiji, Reunion Islands, Suriname, Guyana and other Caribbean States.