The nation celebrated its 73rd Independence Day on Thursday, August 15, 2019 with gaiety and enthusiasm. The attention of the people of India was on the historic Red Fort in the national capital Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag at 7:30 am. Thereafter, he gave the customary address to the nation and revealed his government’s achievements and future plans to make India a super power in the world in the coming years.
First speech of second term
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday delivered his first Independence Day speech on his second stint as the prime minister of India. The BJP led NDA government returned to power for a second term with a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha elections held in April and May this year. This was Modi’s sixth consecutive speech on this auspicious occasion though.
Article 370 & Triple Talaq
As usual, Narendra Modi opened his address with a plethora of his government’s actions one by one in a very confident manner. He spoke with authority and clear vision on contentious issues ranging from Article 370 to Triple Talaq. He also looked in full command of the situation while speaking on the difficulties faced by flood prone states, water conservation and so on.
The broad themes of Modi’s speech on Thursday were on the scrapping of the Article 370 and 35A from Jammu and Kashmir. Elaborating on the same, he said, ‘India is now one nation with one constitution’. “Today the country says, one Nation, one Constitution. We are committed to realise Sardar Patel’s dream of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat (One India, great India),” PM Modi said while delivering his Independence Day speech.
In his address, Modi stressed that within 10 weeks of assuming power his government has taken some bold decisions which were pending for a long time. Banning instant triple talaq will provide security and bring confidence among Muslim women. Modi further added that in the same way that evils like Sati (widow burning) and child marriages were earlier abolished, so is the case now with triple talaq.
Speaking on the Independence Day, Modi once again batted for holding Lok Sabha and assembly elections together, emphasising that the concept of ‘one nation, one election’ is crucial for making the nation powerful. Simultaneous polls of Lok Sabha and state assemblies is a wonderful idea for saving both money and time. The draft, submitted to the Law Ministry, however, cautioned that “holding simultaneous elections is not possible within the existing framework of the Constitution”.
Creation of new post in Defence
In an awesome statement, Narendra Modi declared that the nation will now see a new post in defence, namely that of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) that will amalgamate the operations of all three units of Indian forces, the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
PM Modi further added in his speech that the government is going to improve the pace of infrastructure development. For this purpose, Rs 100 lakh crore will be invested to make the country’s infrastructure match up with other developing nations. He also spoke on the need for population control in his speech, which is essential to reap the demographic dividend.
Launch of Jal Jeevan Mission
PM Modi raised the important issue of water, so he launched the Jal Jeevan Mission to bring piped water to every house. He assured that the government is determined to invest Rs 3.5 lakh crore on this vital project. During the speech, he showed solidarity towards the families whose members died in the recent floods in certain parts of the country. Further, he also remembered the sacrifices of our freedom fighters and paid homage to them too.
Need to boost tourism
Meanwhile, Modi stressed on the country’s huge scope in the tourism sector. The need of the hour is for the sector to develop properly to entice foreign tourists. He urged citizens to visit Indian tourist spots to usher development within the country. He further added that “We should develop 100 tourist destinations across the country, and northeast should become a major tourist hub.”
Acknowledging industrialists’ contribution
Modi stated that he was not afraid to take friendly approach towards industrialists. Their contribution is immense in the nation’s building and development. So we should not see the wealth creator always with suspicion. Money is important and those who are responsible for creating wealth are the wealth of the nation and we should respect them, felt Modi.
Challenges to overcome core issues
Modi also touched other core issues on the 73rd independence Day, including tackling terrorism, controlling corruption, eradicating poverty, overcoming pollution and easing living. He also focussed on making the local products eye-catching so that their export could be boosted.
Ban on plastic use
PM Modi also assured to make the country plastic-free in his speech. He said that time has come to implement the idea to make India free from plastic. Hopefully important direction on this issue will be taken on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2019.
Control on erratic babus
Modi has tightened the monitoring of the functioning of senior bureaucrats. He warned babus to pack their bags if they are not able to deliver their work properly.
Special on this independence Day
This Independence Day speech of Narendra Modi was the longest by any prime minister since 1991.
It also marked the first time Delhi Police used cameras for facial recognition to identify suspicious elements around Red Fort and its adjoining areas.
Last but not the least, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred the Vir Chakra on Independence Day for showing extraordinary dedication and gallantry despite falling in the enemy hands in Pakistan during an air strike.