The prime minister's Independence Day address was part political agenda, part performance analysis and part citizen welfare as he touched upon key issues from population explosion, the dream of a $5 trillion economy and key policy decisions that were inspired by BJP-RSS philosophy like abrogation of Article 370. In a close to 90-minute speech, Narendra Modi not only offered a scorecard of his first almost 60 days in office in his second stint but also outlined the general direction in which he intends to lead India. Modi made a key announcement of merging the central command of navy, air force and military under one head, to be known as Chief of Defence Staff. On the other hand, he also kept up with his signature style of mobilising citizen movements to bring changes in civic life.
Here are key takeaways from Narendra Modi's Independence Day 2019 speech:
- In a major decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS) as head of the tri-services. The prime minister said the CDS will ensure synergy among the three services and provide effective leadership to them. A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country's security system in the wake of the Kargil War in 1999 had called for the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister.
- Lauding his government's move to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A, Modi asserted India now is one nation with one Constitution. Taking a dig at the previous governments, without naming his political rivals, Modi said that his government neither nurses problems nor keeps them pending. Modi said that he fails to understand the reasoning behind support to Article 370 and Article 35A. He said, "If these provisions were so important for Jammu and Kashmir's welfare, why did the previous governments left it as a temporary provision despite multiple opportunities to do so."He said, "This means that they knew that this wasn't right but they lacked the will to set things right."
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- Modi said that the bill criminalising triple talaq will help Muslim women live a better life. "That such a provision existed was a matter of concern and fear for women, who continued living in the shadows of this Islamic law," Modi said, adding that the decision should not be seen through political prism.
- In order to boost domestic tourism, Modi urged people to visit at least 15 tourist destinations within India by 2022, saying there is a "huge" scope to improve India's tourism sector. He said people should visit Indian destinations even if there were no hotels or infrastructure there, as their visits would boost tourism in these areas and automatically lead to better facilities.
- Modi urged citizens to end use of single-use plastic. Encouraging citizens to eliminate the use of single-use-plastic, Modi suggested shop-owners and small entrepreneurs to start gifting their customers cloth bags with their business' branding to ensure advertisement and inculcation of a good habit in the same stroke. He said, calendars and journals are popular corporate gifts but they serve little purpose.
- Standing up for the India Inc, Modi said wealth creators should not be eyed with suspicion and that they are country's wealth and should be respected. Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort here on the 73rd Independence Day, he said wealth creation is a great national service. "Let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed," he said. "Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India's wealth and we respect them."
- Modi said his government will invest a massive Rs 100 lakh crore on developing modern infrastructure that will aid in nearly doubling the size of the Indian economy to $5 trillion in the next five years. Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort here on the 73rd Independence Day, he said reforms will continue to be ushered in to help India break into top 50 countries on the 'ease of doing business' ranking. "To some the target of nearly doubling the size of the Indian economy to $5 trillion in five years may seem difficult. But when we have in five years (of BJP rule) added $1 trillion as compared to USD 2 trillion size achieved in 70 years of independence, then this target is achievable," he said.
- Modi on Thursday made a fresh pitch for holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together, saying the concept of 'one nation, one election' is imperative to make the country great. During his address to the nation on the 73rd Independence Day, he said today, India is talking about simultaneous polls which is a good thing. The government think-tank, NITI Aayog, had last year suggested synchronised two-phase Lok Sabha and assembly polls from 2024 to ensure minimum campaign-mode disruption to governance.
- Modi explained the reason behind the government's initiative to open a separate Jal Shakti ministry. He said, "The Jal Jivan mission to make drinking water available to all households announced, the government will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore for it.
- Modi also expressed concern over "population explosion" in the country saying it causes new challenges for the coming generations and asserted that the Central and state governments should launch measures to deal with the issue. In his Independence Day speech, Modi said the issue of ever-rising population is a matter of concern and said that a small section of society, which keeps their families small, deserves respect. What they are doing is an act of patriotism, he said.
Updated Date: Aug 15, 2019 15:59:58 IST