Independence Day Live: We have accepted One Rank One Pension, PM Modi declares

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Independence Day Live: We have accepted One Rank One Pension, PM Modi declares
  • 09:34 (IST)

    PM Modi talks about promoting entrepreneurship

    The Prime Minister spoke about promotion entrepreneurship among the country's youth, especially among the Dalits. He proposed Dalit Udyogkari and Adivasi loans and exhorted banks to help the backward sections of the country develop. "We are looking at systems for enabling start-ups. We must be Number 1 in start-ups. 'Start-up India' & 'Stand up India," he said, before concluding speech. 

  • 09:30 (IST)

    PM Modi finally talks on the One rank, One Pension issue

    In a veiled attack on the Congress, Modi brought up the One Rank One Pension (OROP). At the very outset, he declared that while there has been a lot of talk around it, other governments haven't been able to make much progress in the right direction.

    "The issue of 'One Rank One Pension' came up in front on every government. Some even made small promises. Issue could not be solved."

    However, he assured that his government is committed to the cause and will do something about it very soon. "I assure the servicemen and I am saying it under the Tricolour from the Red Fort- we have accepted OROP. Some talks are still on." 

    Given that OROP is one of the pet issues Rahul Gandhi keeps talking about in speeches, the Opposition may have to come up with a new strategy. Well played Prime Minister!

  • 09:12 (IST)

    PM Modi continues to emphasise his government's commitment to end corruption

    The Prime Minister continued to wax eloquent about the government's various measures to rein in corruption. He mentioned that by asking affluent to people to give up LPG subsidies, he has managed to end corruption worth Rs 15,000 crore in the sector.

    One of the biggest critiques of the Modi government harps on his promise to bring back black money, but his government's failure to do so. Since he doesn't have much success to flaunt in the area, Modi came up with a new line of defence. He said that he has made sure that no one dares to stash black money abroad anymore. "We have created the SIT. We have made a law which will make it impossible for people to save black money abroad. It has inconvenienced a lot of people. However, all that money will now come to the country's coffers and aid in development."

    He said that so far   Rs 6,500 crore of undisclosed foreign assets have been declared under the compliance window of the new law. 

    He called corruption a 'bimari' (disease), one that needs a strong medicine. "It will have side effects, but that is the only way to end corruption," he declared, exhorting the country to ask itself, 'if this is not commitment to end corruption, what is'.

  • 09:06 (IST)

    PM Modi talks about corruption. Is that a ploy to defend his party and take a dig at the Congress?

    The biggest challenge facing the BJP following the monsoon session is the allegation of corruption. Ironically, it was the same allegation that the party had lobbed against the Congress and then used to rout the latter from the country. No wonder then that the Vyapam Scam and the Lalitgate scandal puts the government in a sticky situation. 

    PM Modi had remained uncharacteristically quiet in the Lok Sabha, leaving the defence of his party to Arun Jaitley. 

    However, he decided to take a roundabout way of hitting back at the Congress. Especially since, at an Independence Day speech, he is least likely to face interruptions or questions. Curiously enough, he didn't even name the Congress this time. He probably had enough punch in the way of numbers, to help him try distracting the country from allegations of corruption against his government and turn India's focus on the several crimes of the Congress. 

    As expected, the coal block allocations came up. However, in a very novel way this time. PM Modi said, "When the CAG said that the country had lost Rs 1,74,000 crore due to unfair coal block allocations, I was stumped. I used to talk about it during speeches but I thought, it couldn't be that much.

    "However, when we came to power, we were shocked. We immediately ordered the re-auction of coal blocks. The government has made Rs 3 lakh crore from the fair auction of coal blocks this time."

    The Prime Minister will be hoping that the country does that math and exonerate his party of the allegations against them maybe. 

    To strengthen his case further, he declared valiantly, "No one can allege corruption worth even a paisa against my government."

  • 08:25 (IST)

    Now it's the turn of the government's favourite initiative: Swachh Bharat

    How long would it be, before Swachh Bharat surfaced in PM Modi's speech? Turns out, not too long. 

    So PM Modi reminded us that he had spoken about the need for toilets during his first speech as the Prime Minister of the country. "Some of you must have thought, why is he talking about toilets from the Red Fort? But all surveys revealed that toilets were the immediate need of the country, we worked on that."

    Then he proceeded to explain how Swachh Bharat has influenced people. He said that children have taken up the burden and now tick off people who they find are littering streets etc. 

    "I bow my head in respect before those children. They will carry the legacy forward," he said, 

    He also thanked celebrities and media for their help in promoting the initiative.

    However, if you look around you and the amount of garbage, the rampant spitting, littering on the country's streets, you wonder if anyone has been listening to the Prime Minister at all. 

  • 08:14 (IST)

    The Prime Minister plugs in his government's initiatives

    But he is not breaking tradition. The Independence Day speech has been used by former parties and Prime Ministers as promotional opportunities for their respective governments. With the UPA in power, one would hear no end of praises for the NREGA and RTI. 

    Now, it's the BJP's turn. 

    So, as soon as the Prime Minister started his speech, his harped on the need to make the society and economy inclusive. Always armed with clever speeches, Modi folded in the reference to MyGov.in in his explanation on how to run a truly democratic country. As he emphasised the need to have the country's citizens participate in its governance, he mentioned that the PMO's website is doing just that. "We get thousands of suggestions everyday," he said.

    Calling the country 'Team India', PM Modi then went on to tell us how the government has included the poor in the economy. "After Independence, several banks were nationalised to make them accessible to one and all. However. So many years after Independence, the country's poor don't have bank accounts. The doors of banks are closed for them. That's why we launched the Jan Dhan Yojana. Now 17 crore poor have bank accounts

    "Whether the accounts have money or not, whether we spend money on paperwork, we still wanted to make sure that the poor have bank accounts."

    After Jan Dhan Yojana, the Prime Minister quickly rattled off the names and the benefits of other schemes launched by his government: Atal Pension Yojana, Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana.

  • 07:53 (IST)

    "End communalism with development"

    The Prime Minister, known to be a fiery orator, started his speech in his trademark high-energy style. He began by declaring that 15 August is not an ordinary day and people have laid down their lives, spent entire lives in jail to free the country. 

    In ornate Hindi, he then proceeded to underline the strength of the nation - it's diversity and its simplicity. "Our unity, our simplicity, our sense of brotherhood are our biggest assets. These assets should be never hurt, they should remain unblemished. If our unity breaks, we break. 

    "Be it the poison of casteism or the fire of communalism, we have to end all this with development.

  • 07:46 (IST)

    Prime Minister hoists the tricolour

    PM Modi hoisted the national flag and the Army band starts playing the national anthem as is tradition. As Modi ascended to the stage, a loud cheer rang through the crowd of children who have gathered at Red Fort to attend the event. 

  • 07:42 (IST)

    PM Modi arrives at Red Fort

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived at the Red Fort and has inspected the guard of honour. He has now proceeded to the podium. In attendance are his cabinest ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and close aide and BJP president Amit Shah. Sharing the front row with them is former Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh and his wife. 

  • 07:34 (IST)

    Doordarshan begins Independence Day telecast with a robst dose of promotional features for Modi govt

    After PM Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, Doordarshan runs a medley of various speeches by PM Modi and the promotional clips of various well-publicised campaigns of the government. Several jingles created to promote the Swachh Bharat campaign were played, interspersed with Modi's speeches. The government's 'Digital India' campaign and other endeavours to promote culture and skill development also promoted at length by Doordarshan before the actual eventy kicked off. 

If the just-concluded Monsoon Session of the Parliament is anything to go by, the country, including the BJP's political opponents, is eager to hear Narendra Modi speak. His stony silence on several thorny issues like the Vyapam scam and the Lalit Modi scandal has left the Opposition jubilantly training their guns on the BJP. And his fans, are eager to hear the a defence of the party by Modi, who has been the BJP's best orator in recent times.

So, all eyes will be on the PM today, as he delivers his second speech as the Prime Minister of the country. While he is least likely to address the allegations of corruption against his party directly, he can always be trusted to fold in a canny defence of his party in the speech. Or lodge a subtle attack on the Opposition, which has had a field day in Parliament this session.

 Independence Day Live: We have accepted One Rank One Pension, PM Modi declares

PM Modi addressing the Nation on the occasion of 69th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi. PIB

While one can't say for sure what the Prime Minister is going to talk about, there have been speculations galore. One thing he is most likely to do during the speech is counter the allegations that his government has done little to bring in social and economic reforms in the country. One can expect him to talk at length about his Beti Bachao campaign, something that has received a warm response at least on social media. The Jan Dhan Yojana is most likely to be promoted in this speech too.

In fact, PM Modi had stated on mygov.in that he welcomed suggestions on the issues people want him to address on this Independence Day. Mint reports, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received over 12,000 suggestions so far on mygov.in, after he asked people to write in with their thoughts on what he should focus on in his Independence Day speech on Saturday. Suggestions range from mentioning martyrs of the Indian freedom movement in his speech, to accepting the demand of ex-servicemen for One Rank, One Pension, and from ways to combat pollution to making India safer for women."

Commenting that this year's speech is crucial since the country has moved  on from the departure of the Congress last year, and will expect more substance than rhetoric in his speech, a Wall Street Journal report says, "His three Independence Day offerings last year — a program to open millions of bank accounts, a campaign to end open defecation and his “Make in India” manufacturing and job-creation drive – are cited by officials as game-changers. This year, Mr Modi is likely to announce more."

All eyes will be on PM Modi and we can only hope that he will be able to make up for his party's dismal showing in the Parliament this session.

Updated Date: Aug 15, 2015 12:39:05 IST