New Delhi: Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Sunday on the occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that political will is required to bring in big changes and reforms.
This was Modi’s eighth address to the nation on Independence Day since 2014. “There is no dearth of political will in taking up reforms. Today, the world can see that there is no dearth of political will in India. The world is a witness to how India is writing a new chapter of governance,” the Prime Minister said.
During his nearly one and half hours speech, Modi made several important announcements like National Hydrogen Mission, Rs 100 lakh crore PM Gati Shakti Infrastructure to make a foundation for holistic infrastructure and admission for girls in ‘Sainik Schools’.
“We are set to present the PM Gati Shakti’s National Master Plan in the near future which will make a foundation for holistic approach in infrastructure construction. During the 75 weeks of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, new 75 Vande Bharat Express trains will be launched and will connect every corner of the Country,” he said.
Talking about Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Modi said that the Delimitation Commission has been formed in J&K and the government is making preparations for Vidhan Sabha elections. “Ladakh, too, is walking its road towards development. On one hand, Ladakh is witnessing the creation of modern infrastructure, while on the other, ‘Sindhu Central University’ is going to make Ladakh a Centre of higher education,” he said.
The Prime Minister said, “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and now ‘Sabka Prayas’ is important in our journey of building the Aatmanirbhar Bharat of our dreams. Our goal is to develop a nation where we not only have world-class infrastructure but also move ahead with the mantra of ‘Minimum government, maximum governance.”
In a veiled attack on Pakistan and China, Modi said, “In the post-pandemic time, world will see a new world order with two major challenges — terrorism and expansionism — and India is fighting and effectively responding to both.
“Talking about infrastructure, Modi said, “From new waterways to connecting new places through sea-planes, work is undergoing at rapid speed. Indian Railways, too, is undergoing a change to modernize itself. It is our collective responsibility that we walk ahead in the 75th year of India’s Independence believing in India’s abilities. We have to work together on next-gen infrastructure, world class manufacturing, connecting-edge innovations and new age technology.”
Talking about the agri sector, the Prime Minister said, “In the next few years, we will have to increase the collective power of India’s small farmers. We have to provide them with new facilities. They must become the nation’s pride.
“It is time we apply scientific research and suggestions in our agriculture sector. We need to reap all its benefits. It will not just provide food security to the nation, but will also increase food production. In this decade, we will have to work dedicatedly to provide a new economy in rural India. Today, we are witnessing our villages getting transformed,” he said.
Modi also listed several key initiatives of his government like the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Mission in which over 4.5 crore families started receiving piped water within two years of launch of programs.
“In the last seven years, crores of poor have received benefits of several initiatives. The needy have benefited from Ujjwala to Ayushman Bharat and others. Compared to earlier, we’ve moved ahead at a rapid pace. Now, we need to reach a saturation point,” the Prime Minister said.
Talking about development in the rural areas, the Prime Minister said, “Today we see our villages changing rapidly. In the past few years, facilities like road, electricity have reached villages. Today the optical fiber network is providing the power of data to villages.
“We’re promoting roads, healthcare, education, employment and nutrition in over 110 Aspirational Districts — that had remained lacking on the development matrix. We are working hard to ensure these districts reach the levels of all other districts in India,” he said.
Modi mentioned the recent decision to allow OBC and EWS reservation in medical admission and empowering states to make its own list of OBC castes.
“India needs to ensure that the Dalits, the Backward Classes and the EWS walk ahead. Recently, OBC reservation has been ensured in medical education. OBC lists can now be made by states hereon. We need to make sure that development happens to everyone,” he said.
The Prime Minister mentioned that malnutrition has been a barrier in development of poor women and poor children. “We have, thus, decided to give the poor nutrient-added rice to the poor. By 2024, from ration shops to mid-day meals, all rice being provided to the poor will be fortified,” he said.
The Prime Minister also lauded efforts of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, our cleaning workers, our vaccine makers for diligently serving people during the Covid pandemic.
He also talked about the decision to observe August 14 as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ in memory of those who were affected by the Partition in 1947.
The Prime Minister remembered innumerable people who have contributed to India’s journey and have taken the nation forward and paid his tributes to all such people.
The Prime Minister also lauded the efforts of Indian players for making the country proud by winning medals during recently concluded Tokyo Olympians. Players were invited by the Prime Minister to attend the Independence Day celebration at Red Fort.