Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Wednesday on the occasion of Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort, and is likely to announce pilot projects of Ayushman Bharat in select district hospitals and also push for financial inclusion.
The speech this year will be live streamed on Google and YouTube. Prasar Bharti has tied up with Google to broadcast the prime minister's speech live so that it reaches more people. "Live stream of the Independence Day event from Red Fort is a high viewership event. In order to give it greater visibility, both in India and abroad, we partnered with Google. Apart from YouTube, it will be available on Google's homepage," Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati told The Hindu.
Modi had also asked for ideas and suggestions from the people for his speech. In July last year, he had tweeted:
What are your thoughts and ideas for my 15th August speech?
Share them with me on a specially created forum on the Narendra Modi App.
You can also share them on MyGov. https://t.co/BJMCEeisne
I look forward to receiving your fruitful inputs in the coming days.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 31, 2018
According to Times Now, the prime minister received about 30,000 suggestions for his Independence Day speech. In addition to this, close to 2,000 people from rural areas also wrote letters to Modi and the suggestions ranged from job creation, education, digitisation, family planning and healthcare, the report added.
Modi is likely to announce the launch of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS) on a pilot basis in some states on Wednesday, with the full-scale roll-out of the project expected by September-end, sources told PTI.
The ambitious AB-NHPM aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families. The scheme will target people from poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest SECC data, and will cover around 50 crore people.
While Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are yet to come on board, Odisha has refused to be a part of the scheme, a government official said.
Modi is also expected to announce benefits for about 32 crore Jan Dhan account holders in his address to provide a boost to the government's financial inclusion drive. Sources told PTI that the government may announce attractive micro insurance scheme on the occasion.
Phase II of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) will come to an end on 15 August and the scheme would be due for a revamp with further goals, the sources said, adding that the prime minister’s Independence Day speech would be the best platform to make the announcement.
There could be a doubling of overdraft facility to Rs 10,000 under the PMJDY account holders as part of the government’s effort to fund the unfunded, they said.
Last year, Modi spoke for nearly 54 minutes, which was his shortest Independence Day address since 2014. He spoke for over 65 minutes in 2014, 86 minutes in 2015, and 94 minutes in 2016.
Highlights from 2017
Last year, Modi spoke on varied issues, ranging from farmers' issues, GST, demonetisation, terrorism and triple talaq. The prime minister also pitched for 'New India', saying India should create 'New India' before 2022, the year when it celebrates 75s years of Independence. "We have to take the country ahead with the determination of creating a 'New India'," Modi said.
"A New India where there is equal opportunity for all; where modern science and technology play an important role in bringing glory for the nation in the global arena," he added.
Modi also hailed the surgical strikes, that took place on 29 November, 2016, and reiterated that his government is serious about tackling various national security issues. "After the surgical strike, the entire world had to acknowledge India's capability and strength," the prime minister said. "The concern for national security is a natural one in an independent India."
The triple talaq issue also found a mention in Modi's speech, with the prime minister reiterating his government's support to the movement against triple talaq. "I believe India will fully support the women in their struggle. The women of this country created a revolution against triple talaq. There was an atmosphere against triple talaq in the country with even the media supporting the women," he said.
Highlights from 2016
In 2016, Modi's speech featured cross-border terrorism and progress of various government schemes, improvement in agriculture and women empowerment.
Talking about inflation, Modi said despite the difficulties faced due to two successive years of failed monsoon, his government had brought down the annual inflation rate to below six percent from 10 percent earlier.
Modi had also sought support for the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative and said one healthy, educated and economically independent woman can pull a family out of poverty. He also mentioned the amended Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 that increased maternity leave from present 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Modi also hit out at Pakistan for supporting terrorism and said that India will not bow before terrorism. This, he said, was in contrast to the way Indians reacted with sorrow when terrorists slaughtered school children in Peshawar. "That is the nature of India. But on the other hand, look at those who glorify terrorists. What kind of people glorify terrorists? What kind of people celebrate when people are killed?"
"The world is watching. People of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them," he said.
Highlights from 2015
In 2015, Modi mentioned One Rank One Pension, governments efforts to bring back black money and corruption among other things.
Modi assured the ex servicemen that 'One Rank One Pension' has been accepted in principle but it is in talks. "We want to get a solution which is acceptable to all. Discussions have come to the final leg, we hope for a positive result."
On black money, he said that his government acted on the ground and brought changes in the schemes to fight corruption. "Before we came to power, the CBI had filed only 800 cases of corruption. Under our government, CBI has registered 1,800 corruption cases in 10 months."
Highlights from 2014
In his first Independence Day speech, Modi had said that he was here not as a pradhan mantri but a pradhan sevak. "If you will work for 12 hours, I will work for 13 hours," he said, adding that it is the need of the hour to fight poverty.
He had promised separate toilets for girls in government schools. The prime minister also lauded the IT professionals for changing the country's image, saying earlier, we were considered a country of snake charmers.
The prime minister also talked about communalism saying, the poison of casteism, communalism or sectarianism is a hindrance to country’s progress. He also talked about 'Digital India' saying, it is a dream for the nation. "When I say 'digital India' it is not meant for the rich but for those who are poor."
"If we move with the dream of electronic digital India and manufacturing of electronic goods and become self-reliant, it will be a major gain for the country," he had said.
Modi also announced the village adoption scheme in 2014. "I today announce a scheme named after the Parliamentarians – 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana'. Every MP has to develop one village in his or her constituency into a model village under this scheme," he said.
"A Parliamentarian should develop two more villages before going for election after 2016 in the year 2019. After that every MP has to develop at least five villages during a five-year tenure."
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Aug 14, 2018 14:46:20 IST