Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday addressed the nation from the Red Fort on the occasion of the nation's 72nd Independence Day. Modi, wearing a saffron safa (headgear), started his speech by congratulating the six women officers of the Indian Navy who recently circumnavigated the globe recently on INSV Tarini. Modi said that India's daughters continue to make the country proud as they have previously hoisted the national flag at Mount Everest as well.
Modi said that India is now touching new heights with more vigour and enthusiasm than ever before as it has become the sixth biggest economy in the world, and thus, the nation's confidence is worth saluting.
"From being seen as one among the 'fragile five', India is now the land of 'reform', 'perform' and 'transform' and the country is poised for record economic growth," he said. "We want to make a India which is revered globally and our Constitution is our guiding light," Modi remarked emphatically, adding, "India is the investment destination for multi-trillion dollars."
Modi also used the opportunity to bring out the difference in governance during his regime and the UPA government till 2013 by saying that India couldn't have build more toilets, provided electricity in villages and have given LPG gas connection to poor if the government would have worked at the pace of 2013.
"If we had continued at the same pace at which toilets were being constructed in 2013, the pace at which electrification was happening in 2013, then it would have taken us decades to complete," he said.
"We are very proud of what we have achieved but at the same time, we also have to look at where we have come from because it is then that we will realise the unbelievable strides the nation has taken," the prime minister remarked.
Modi also highlighted the contribution of the 150 crore Indians in the process of nation building by saying, "2014 se ab tak main anubhav kar raha hun ki sava sau crore deshwasi sirf sarkaar banakar ruke nahi, woh desh banane mein jutte hue hain."
"Today the country is moving forward with new consciousness, new ambition, new resolution, new accomplishment and new manners and India's voice is being heard at the world stage."
He then thanked the armed forces for their invaluable contribution to the nation over time and the sacrifices done by the security personnel at the border. "I bow to all the army personnel, paramilitary forces and soldiers for their great service," Modi said.
"Our army is always there to help people in times of calamity and yet is capable of carrying out something like surgical strikes on the enemy," Modi said proudly.
He also said that the One rank One Pension (OROP) demand of ex-army men was pending for decades and because "our brave army personnel had faith in us (Modi government) and we were able to take a decision on OROP".
Modi brought to fore the laurels achieved by the North East in recent times. He said that today the North East India is making the nation proud with positive news in the field of sports, technology and education.
"There was a time when North East India used to feel that Delhi is very far from them, but today we have brought Delhi to the doorstep of the North East. Tripura, Meghalaya and many parts of Arunachal Pradesh are seeing historic peace," Modi said.
While addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi also made several new announcements during his speech, the most prominent was the desire to to send one Indian in space before 2022. "India will soon become the fourth nation to send a man to space. One of our son or daughter will reach space before the nation's 75th Independence Day," Modi proclaimed.
Another announcement made by him was of the 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat)' which is a healthcare scheme slated to be launched on 25 September on the birth anniversary of BJP ideologue Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. The scheme will ensure that the poor of India get access to good quality and affordable healthcare, said Modi, adding that the healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians.
Modi also praised the sanitation mission of his government by saying that due to the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', lakhs of children are able to lead healthier lives. "Mahatma Gandhi led the satyagrahis to freedom. Today, the 'swachhagrahis' have to ensure a 'Swachh Bharat'," Modi remarked.
He also announced new initiatives for the agriculture sector by championing his government's 'Beej Se Bazar Tak' approach. "The aim is to double the farmer's income by 2022. The demand for higher MSP was pending for years. From farmers to political parties to agriculture experts, everybody was asking about it but nothing happened. With the blessings of the farmers, the decision on MSP was taken by our government," Modi said.
Modi also reiterated his government's stance on black money and corruption saying that he will ensure black money is uprooted and the honest taxpayers get their due.
"We will not spare the corrupt and those who stashed black money. They have ruined the country. Delhi's streets are now free from power brokers," Modi proclaimed.
He also thanked the business community for making the Goods and Services Tax (GST) a success. "Last year GST became a reality. I want to thank the business community for the success of the GST," Modi said.
He also told the countrymen that how schemes such as 'Ujjwala' and 'Saubhagya Yojana' are enhancing the dignity of fellow Indians, especially the poor strata of the society. "We are capable of taking tough decisions, because the nation is with us," Modi remarked. "Hum makkhan par lakeer nahi, patthar par lakeer kheenchne waale hain (We carve a line on stone, not on butter," Modi remarked.
Modi also spoke prominently about the issue of triple talaq, for which his government has been rallying for long now. "I will fight for the rights of our Muslim women and daughters and will do everything to abolish triple talaq," he said. "The practice of triple talaq has caused great injustice to Muslim women. We are striving to end this practice but there are some people who do not want it to end. But I promise the Muslim women that I will work to ensure justice is done to them," Modi announced from the Red Fort.
He also spoke about the progress and developmental projects being done in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. "Our government is committed to development of all areas and all sections of Jammu and Kashmir and we will embrace all nation-loving people of the state with a hug," Modi said. He announced the start of Panchayat elections in the state in next few months. "Hum goli aur gaali ke raaste par nahi par gale laga ke aage badhna chahte hain. Aane wale kuch hi mahino mein Kashmir mein gaon ke logon ko apna haq jatane ka avsar milega aur panchayat chunav honge (We do not want to take the path of bullets and abuse, but move forward with love. IN the coming months, every village in Kashmir will get a chance to stress its rights in the Panchayat elections)," Modi said.
Talking of the minorities and the backward classes, Modi said that the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament was devoted to social justice as it witnessed the passage of the bill to create an OBC Commission. "Parliament has tried to safeguard the rights of the backward sections by giving constitutional status to the Backward Commission," Modi said.
Modi also touched upon the sensitive issue of rapes and women atrocities in India. He said that his government has ensured death sentence for child rapists and that is going to deter such monstrous people from committing crime against women.
He, however, also emphasised how each family needs to imbibe the value of respecting women in their children. "We have to free our society and country from this disgusting mentality of rape. Recently in Madhya Pradesh a rapist was hanged by a fast-track court. We should spread this news and make people aware. Rule of law is supreme, no one can take the law in their hands", Modi remarked.
He also hailed the achievement of women in various fields and announced that from now on women officers commissioned in short service will get opportunity for permanent commission like their male counterparts. "I am proud of the fact that three women judges in Supreme Court are delivering justice. Since independence, this is the first Cabinet where so many women are a part of the Cabinet," Modi said highlighting the contribution of women.
Modi also paid condolences to those who have lost their lives in the recent floods witnessed across the country. "Many parts of the nation witnessed good monsoon but at the same time parts of India have been severely hit by floods. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in these floods," Modi said.
Modi, however, ended his address by conveying that this is not the end of the road as there is so much more to achieve, yet. "There is no question of stopping or getting tired on the way; we want to progress more", he remarked.
Modi concluded his last I-Day speech by reciting a poem in Hindi:
हम निकल पड़े हैं प्रण करके
अपना तन-मन अर्पण करके
जिद है एक सूर्य उगाना है
अम्बर से ऊँचा जाना है
एक भारत नया बनाना है
एक भारत नया बनाना है:
अपने मन में एक लक्ष्य लिए
मंज़िल अपनी प्रत्यक्ष लिए
हम तोड़ रहे हैं जंजीरें
हम बदल रहे हैं तस्वीरें
ये नवयुग है, नव भारत है
खुद लिखेंगे अपनी तकदीरें
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Updated Date: Aug 15, 2018 14:22:37 IST