The past week has been awash with anticipation and rumours about Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation. A number of popular news sources went to the extent of suggesting that NaMo would go in for a break in tradition and select a different venue than the Red Fort for his address to the nation. Possibly, the idea originated in Modi’s love of breaking set patterns and norms. In 2003, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi had moved the venue of the I-Day from Gandhinagar to a lesser-known town.
Modi’s reputation as a charismatic and forceful speaker has always been his greatest political strength. The speech was expected to set a national a vision and announce the new government’s major policies. And, on this count, Modi did not disappoint the nation.
The Red Fort was decked up this morning with over 4000 tricolour flags and about 60,000 balloons in the national colours. Seven thousand security personnel, including about 2,000 from the paramilitary forces, and 10,000 spectators geared up to watch the unfurling of the tricolour and celebration of liberty with a generation that considers its independence as a non-negotiable legacy. Modi was dressed in a mandarin collar cream-colour kurta and a stately red and green turban and introduced himself as the Pradhan Sevak (prime servant) rather than Pradhan Mantri (Prime Minister) of the nation. The lack of bullet-proof glass around him remained conspicuous.
Here are some major focus areas of the Prime Minister’s speech on the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day.
Women’s Protection and Empowerment – The Prime Minister’s speech emphasized on the urgent need for a change in societal values with regard to women’s empowerment and protection. The growing numbers of rape cases is a matter of shame, the solution is to raise sons who can respect women and adhere to values, he said. The dismal sex ratio in the country is a result of unethical practices such as female foeticide performed by doctors and commissioned by parents. Modi reminded the nation of the contribution of women to the development and pride of the nation, referring to the female medal winners of the Commonwealth Games 2014.
Growth and Development – The Prime Minister announced the replacement of the Central Planning Commission with a new institution that would ensure “optimum utilization of resources” and would set a new direction to governance. “Financial planning has grown out of the scope of Central government”, said the PM. In a shout-out to global investors, the Prime Minister invited them to come and manufacture goods in India. He promised talent, skills and a conducive environment while calling for the production of zero-defect products.
Unity and Integrity – Growth and development in the country is not the prerogative of the majority. It is only through consensus that exemplary governance can be achieved. He recalled the path of tolerance, brotherhood and peace – Sadbhavana that brought about India’s independence. The Prime Minister assured the nation that the same path would lead to development and prosperity. Communal violence is the greatest inhibitor to our progress, he said. It is time we step up our pride as Indians and set aside caste and community-spurred differences.
Poverty Alleviation – To enable the poor masses of India open their bank accounts, he announced the launch of ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’. These bank accounts would help the poor gain access to facilities such as debit cards and provide them an insurance coverage to the tune of INR 1 lakh as well. Working with the other SAARC countries, India’s endeavour to eradicate poverty must be one of its priorities.
Cleanliness and Environment – He stressed that India’s lack of toilets and sanitation had become a matter important enough to be included in the national address from the Red Fort. He urged the Indians to take a pledge of maintaining cleanliness and not polluting the environment.
Digital India – Digital India is another topic, the Prime Minister focused on, in his speech. Our country is a young nation and skilled talent is its greatest requirement. Our youth have now taken over the world with exemplary IT skills. He said that he dreamt of a digital India where IT connects the country much like the railways of yesteryears. Modi, the tech-savvy Prime Minister of India, called for e-governance as the means to good governance.
Quotes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address at Red Fort –
- “This nation has not been made by politicians or administrators or governments; it was built by labourers, farmers, teachers, seers, social workers and by the youth”
- “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The armed forces are awake, and we all should be awake, too”
- “Have we thought about our sex ratio? There are 940 daughters born for 1000 sons. Who is creating this imbalance? I appeal to the doctors not to kill the girl child in the mother’s womb to fill their coffers. I request the parents not to kill daughters because you want a son… I have seen families where one daughter serves parents more than five sons. Killing daughters in the womb, it is a blot on 21st century India.”
- “I tell the world – Come, Make in India. Sell anywhere but manufacture here. We have the skill and talent.”
- “We have seen instances of communal violence for too long. Till when will this go on? Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation.”
- “A person working in the private sector calls his work a job but a government employee will always call his work a service”