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One of the most memorable days in Indian history is 15th August, the day on which the Indian sub-continent got independence after a long struggle from almost two centuries of Britishers. There is a tradition in India that every Prime Minister to host the national flag and addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of Independence Day, 15th August. The speech of Prime Minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development of nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort during the 74th Independence Day was a long recalling of the government’s achievements and plans. The Prime Minister spoke at length about India’s fight against coronavirus, how it united the country, the clash with China and Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. He also elaborated on the plans for the future, including the National Digital Health Mission, the New Education Policy, reconsidering the minimum age for marriage for girls and the coronavirus vaccines in the works.
Here’s the highlights of Prime Ministers’ speech on Independence Day:
No speech this year can be complete without the mention of the single-biggest event of the millennium. PM Modi started his speech with coronavirus and spoke about how it brought Indians together. “We are going through distinct times. I can’t see young children in front of me today, the coronavirus pandemic has stopped everyone. In these times of COVID-19, corona warriors have lived the mantra of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ and served the people of India. I express my gratitude to them,” he said, adding, “India’s unity has been a lesson to the world in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
2. Atma Nirbhar Bharat
PM Modi said that the coronavirus pushed Indians to realise the importance of a self-reliant nation. He said that Indians united to match the requirements when the world could not help the nation. “There are many challenges to becoming self-reliant but our youth helped find solutions to the coronavirus crisis. We made PPE kits locally when the world couldn’t help us,” he said. The PM said that a self-reliant India has become the mantra of 130 crore Indians. “Today India is not only meeting its own requirements but is also helping other countries. India should be ‘vocal for local’,” he stated. He asked how long would India continue to provide raw materials to the world and import finished goods. “There was a time when finished goods produced in India were appreciated the world over. We have to achieve that again,” he said. The PM not only pitched for Make in India but also for Make for World.
The PM said that India’s overall infrastructure needs a new direction. “There is a need to give a new direction to the overall infrastructure development of the country to move India towards modernity at a fast pace. This need will be met from the National Infrastructure Pipeline Project,” he said. He said that the government is planning to spend more than Rs 100 lakh crore on this. Seven thousand different projects have been identified. “A very big plan has been prepared to connect the entire country with Multi-Modal Connectivity Infrastructure,” he added.
4. Welfare schemes
“7 crore poor families were given free gas cylinders, more than 80 crore people were provided free food, about Rs. 90,000 crore were directly transferred to the bank accounts. Until a few years ago, all this could not be imagined to be done without any leakage, money would reach the poor directly,” said PM Modi. He said that under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan employment opportunities are being provided to these people in their villages.
5. National Education Policy
PM Modi said that the only way forward is through education. “Education is of utmost importance in building a self-reliant, modern and new India. It is important in building a prosperous India. With this thinking, the country received the new National Education Policy,” said PM Modi.
6. Optical fiber
The Prime Minister said that the importance of Digital India was realised amid the coronavirus pandemic. He announced that in the coming 1,000 days, every village in the country will be connected with optical fiber. “Before 2014, only 5 dozen panchayats in the country were connected with optical fiber. In the last five years, 1.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country have been connected with optical fiber,” he said.
7. National Digital Health Mission
PM Modi announced the National Digital Health Mission. As per the mission, every Indian will have a health ID. He said that this will revolutionise the Indian health sector. The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will ensure seamless healthcare services through the health card, he said.
8. Coronavirus vaccine
PM Modi said that there are three COVID-19 vaccines in the works now. “Indian researchers are working on 3 corona vaccines. We will ensure the vaccine reaches every Indian,” he said.
9. India-China clash
The PM said that the Indian armed forces foiled every challenge that dared the country. “The world has seen what India is capable of in Ladakh. 184 nations have backed India at UNSC,” he said, adding that 1 lakh NCC cadets would be trained in border areas.
10. Ram Temple in Ayodhya
“Recently we laid the foundation stone of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. I laud the patience and resolve Indians showed. I congratulate all for maintaining peace and brotherhood,” said PM Modi.
11. Jal Jeevan mission
He also said that more than one lakh households are now being provided with drinking water under the Centre’s Jal Jeevan mission.
12. Health ID
He also announced that every Indian citizen would get a Health ID under the National Digital Health Mission (NDH) which would contain all the information of every test, disease, medicine and associated reports of each individual. “Another big campaign is going to start in the country starting today. This is the National Digital Health Mission. National Digital Health Mission will bring a new revolution in India’s health sector,” PM Modi said.
13. minimum age of marriage for girls
Prime Minister also announced that the Centre has set up a committee to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for girls in India.
14. J&K issue
PM Modi also briefly touched upon the J&K issue and said, “Jammu and Kashmir has completed one year of independence from Article 370.”
PM Modi said that the government would soon introduce a new cybersecurity policy as the rising threat from cyberspace could have an impact on India’s social and economic development.