Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort and exhorted citizens to move towards building an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ on India’s 74th Independence Day. Multi-layered security arrangements and social distancing norms are in place for the event this year.
India’s 74th Independence Day celebrations were carried out with adherence to COVID-19 protocol.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag and delivered his seventh consecutive Independence Day speech from the iconic Red Fort.
The Prime Minister also received the Guard of Honour contingent, consisting of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police. Major Shweta Pandey assisted the Prime Minister in unfurling the National Flag, following which Modi addressed the nation.
Dressed in his customary ‘kurta pyjama’ and safa, the Prime Minister in his nearly 90-minute address, dwelt at length on his Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign and gave a call for reducing imports and pushing exports of finished products in place in place raw material, saying the country will have to move forward with the mantra of ‘Make in India’ as well as ‘Make for World’.
“Recently, we have seen an 18% increase in FDI, a record. This confidence wasn’t born all of a sudden. For this, India has initiated reforms and made policy changes.
Today, along with ‘Make in India’, we must talk of Make For World’.
“The first condition for aatmanirbhar Bharat is aatmavishwas — self-confident India. Economic progress must be coupled with humanity and human concerns. Today the world is interconnected and interdependent. Thus, in keeping with the demand of the times, India too must contribute its bit. For that we must be prosperous and strong. Only then can we contribute meaningfully to the world.”
“The calm displayed by our people at this time has been unprecedented. This calm and harmony is the guarantee of our development. This journey calls for sacrifice. Being ordinary will not do. We have to be the best.
Therefore we must aim at best products, in terms of both human resources and governance. Only then can we achieve our dream of “Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat”.
“We have to resolve to do this for 130 million Indians, our future generations, and for aatmanirbhar Bharat. We will try and reduce imports, go vocal for local, empower our young, women, adivasis, Dalits, and divyaang. 2022, the 75th year of our independence, is upon us. Coronavirus crisis is a big crisis, but is not big enough to stop us in building aatmanirbhar Bharat. Once again, best wishes to all of you on our Independence Day.”
“We value our security as much as harmony. We also connect it to aatmanirbhar India, and has therefore created a negative list of over 100 defence products for import. We have a long coastline and more than 1,300 islands, and we are prioritising the development of certain islands. We have launched optical fibre connectivity in Andaman & Nicobar islands. In the next 1,000 days, we have decided to connect Lakshadweep too in this manner.”
As many as 173 districts are either on the coast or share a border with another country. We will prepare nearly 1 lakh National Cadet Corp youth in these areas, half of whom will be our daughters. The Indian Army and Navy will be involved in their training.
Those who challenge India’s sovereignty, be it LOC or LAC, have been given a befitting reply in their own language: PM Modi
Referring to the Ladakh face-off, Modi said: “Attempts have been made to undermine our territorial integrity from LAC to the LoC, says PM Modi. Whenever that happened, our jawans have replied in the language of the enemy. The whole country is inspired and resolute. What the country and our jawans can do has been seen in Ladakh by the world. I bow to all those jawans from the ramparts of the Red Fort.”
“India has been resolutely dealing with terrorism. The world acknowledges that. 184 of 192 countries voted for India to be part of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
“India values our partnership with our neighbours with whom we are connected via land and sea. We are committed to deepening our relationships. South Asia has a quarter of the world’s population, and is a repository of possibilities. I call on all intellectuals and people of South Asia to work together for the prosperity of the region.
Today, neighbours are not just those with whom our borders meet but also with those with whom we connect with our hearts. We have worked on the idea of an extended neighbourhood. With West Asia for example, we have increased cooperation especially in the field of energy security. Many of our brothers and sisters live and work in such countries, and the way these countries took care of our people during the coronavirus pandemic is deserving of thanks from us. The ASEAN countries too have much in common in terms of culture and Buddhist practices.
National Digital Health Mission
“Coronavirus has made us think about being self-reliant with regard to health as well.
“When the pandemic hit, we could only do 300 tests a day in the one lab we had. Now we can test nearly 7 lakh cases a day. We are launching a big programme on health today: National Digital Health Mission. This will revolutionise our health systems. Every Indian will be given a health ID which will contain all your information. What disease you suffer from, which doctor has been consulted, what medicines you are on will all be included in your health ID.”
“The major question on everyone’s mind these days is regarding the coronavirus vaccine, “he said.
“Our scientists are labouring in our three vaccine candidates that are at various stages of testing, he says, adding that once the vaccine is ready, they will be produced and distributed to all Indians in the shortest possible time.”
Whenever the women in the country got opportunities, they have taken forward the name of India, “From working in coal mines to flying fighter planes, our daughters are everywhere. India is one of the few countries where women are in combat roles in military. Nearly 70% of mudra loan holders are women.
We are also mindful of their health. In 6,000 Jan Aushadhi kendras, we have distributed 5 crore sanitary pads at ₹1. We will also be reconsidering the marriageable age of women soon.
After three decades, we have brought in the New Education Policy, said Modi, adding that it will connect India’s students to our roots, but will also help them be a global citizen.
“The National Research Foundation too has been set up as research is important for innovation. During coronavirus pandemic, online classes have become common and online transactions have gone up exponentially.
For integrating villages into Digital India, we have decided to accelerate our optical fibre programme, and to extend it to all 6 lakh villages in India. We have decided to do this within the next 1,000 days. In the coming days, our dependence on cyberspace is only likely to grow. There are dangers in this too, and India is mindful of these dangers. As new systems are being put in place, a draft Cyber Security Policy will be put forward.
“Whether it be agriculture, small industry or salaried class, our middle class have taken full advantage of even the smallest of opportunities. Our middle class can create miracles,” Modi said.
If there is ease of living that has to be brought in, it should benefit our middle class. Home loans have become cheaper. GoI made a corpus of ₹25,000 crore fund for completing housing projects that were stuck in a limbo.
GST has rationalised taxation, reforms in MSME sector will also benefit the middle class. Connecting cooperative banks to RBI is also a step in that direction.
The big priority of aatmanirbhar Bharat is aatmanirbhar Krishi, he said.
“We have initiated many reforms with regards to agriculture. Many of you may not know that unlike other manufacturers, the farmers were not free to sell their produce to who they wanted and on their terms. We have freed the farmer to seek his/her own markets,” he said.
“₹1 lakh crore has been allotted for agriculture infrastructure. Additionally, we will be building village-based clusters for agricultural and non-agricultural clusters.”
“Last year, I had announced the Jal Jeevan mission. I can say with pride today that every day we are adding tap-pipe connections to one lakh families. In the last year, we added 2 crore connections.”
“In the last six years, we have initiated many programmes for the welfare of those who labour,” the Prime Minister said.
““DBT, subsidised gas connections, Ayushman Bharat, aawaas Yojana — these have been initiated to help our people in a transparent manner.”
“During the coronavirus pandemic, these measures have helped distribute free rations to 80 crore Indians, and ₹90,000 crores have been transferred to bank accounts of the beneficiaries.”
“Even as we battle the coronavirus pandemic, we have had cyclones, locust attacks, earthquakes, floods etc. But despite this, India did not lose its confidence. To lift the economy from the effect of coronavirus, we have launched the national infrastructure fund and set aside more than one lakh crore to this end.”
“When Atalji [A.B, Vajpayee] was the Prime Minister, he had launched the far-sighted Golden Quadrilateral project. We have to take this forward. We can’t look at infrastructure in silos. It has to be looked at in an integrated manner. Multi-modal infrastructure is the way forward.”
“Even in the space sector, we have made changes for moving ahead. Our progress on space, health, power sector and so benefits our neighbours and the rest of the world. We have to find ways where goods made in India attract praise,” says the Prime Minister in his speech, adding that India has to leverage our human resource to achieve this.
“India’s progress is remarkable. Who thought that one day, welfare funds would be directly sent into bank accounts of the poor, space sector would be opened, Essential Services act would be amended, that there would be ‘One Nation One Tax’ or ‘One Nation, One Ration-card’.”
The Prime Minister wound up his speech with chants of Bharat Mata ki jai, Vande Mataram, Jai Hind!
Earlier, the Prime Minsiter arrived at the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, where he was received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
The defence secretary introduced the General Officer Commanding (GoC), Delhi Area, Lt Gen Vijay Kumar Mishra to the Prime Minister.