PM Modi makes new promises in Independence Day address

New Delhi: In his last Independence Day address of this tenure ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke at length about the progress India has made under his government and asserted that its rise is being hailed by the world.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, Modi spelt out pro-farm measures taken during four years of his government, the cornerstone being the bold move to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of crops at least 1.5 times of the cost of production.

In his 80 minutes long speech today, Modi drew a comparison between the situation in 2013 and how things stand today and said if the pace of the UPA government’s last year was maintained, it would have taken decades, centuries and generations to build as many toilets, distribute as many LPG connections among the poor and lay down as much optical fibre as his government has done. The country is brimming with self-confidence today and forging ahead with a new sense of commitment, he said.

“India is moving forward at a new pace,” he said. Modi also spoke about the recent Monsoon Session of Parliament and said it was dedicated to social justice, with measures being taken to protect the interests of Dalits, deprived people, tribals, women and the backwards.

“We have to ensure social justice for all and create an India that is progressing rapidly,”he said. Indians today across the globe are feeling proud as the country has become the sixth largest economy in the world, he said.

While decisions have been held back in the past due political and other compulsions, bold decisions like the GST are being taken now, he said. “The world was worried earlier about India as it saw the country among the fragile five, now it looks at us with hope,” he said.

“The world earlier viewed India as a country hit by policy paralysis, delayed reforms, now it sees it as a multi-trillion dollar investment destination,” he said, adding that his government also took the bold measure of announcing the minimum support price for grains at 1.5 times the cost to farmers. He also expressed his sadness at the plight of people in parts of the country affected by floods.

HEALTH SCHEME

Modi announced that his government will launch an ambitious healthcare scheme on 25 September this year which will benefit 50 crore citizens of the country. “It is essential to ensure that we free the poor of India from the clutches of poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare.’”

The ambitious Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) aims to provide a coverage of Rs five lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.

The scheme aims to target 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 Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, and will cover around 50 crore people.

SLEEPING ELEPHNAT STARTED TO RUN

Modi said India will be the engine of growth for the world economy for the next three decades as the ‘sleeping elephant’ has started to run on the back of structural reforms like GST.

The government’s motto, he said, is reform, perform and transform. Red tape has been replaced with ‘red carpet’, propelling India on the ease of doing business ranking, he said. Bottlenecks were a topic of discussions among international institutions and experts prior to 2014 but ‘today they are saying the sleeping elephant has woken up and has started running’.

GAGANYAAN PLAN

An Indian astronaut, be it a man or a woman, will go on a space odyssey by 2022 on board ‘Gaganyaan’, Modi said. He further said when India celebrates 75th year of Independence in 2022, ‘and if possible even before, an Indian son or daughter’ will undertake a manned space mission on board ‘Gaganyaan’ ‘carrying the national flag.

BHARATHI’S LINES

Today, the lines of national poet Bharathiyar echoed from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi. Modi quoted in Tamil the lines of Bharathiyar during his speech after hoisting the national flag at Red Fort. He read out in Tamil: ‘Ellorum Amara Nilayai Eythum Nanmurayai India Ulagukku Alikkum’, which loosely translates as India will present to the world the best way for everyone to achieve immortality.

NT Bureau