As India celebrated its 75th Independence Day on August 15, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted in his eighth I-Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort the importance of Aatma Nirbhar and ‘Sab Vikas’ for building a new India. He also announced that the Centre will soon launch the Rs 100 lac-crore Gati Shakti national infrastructure plan to boost India’s economy.
PM Modi said, “In the coming days, we will launch the PM Gati Shakti Plan – a Rs 100 lac-crore national infrastructure master project that will make a foundation for holistic infrastructure and give an integrated pathway to our economy. To further boost our economy we have to focus on our manufacturing and export.”
“I call upon manufacturers and say them that each and every one of your products is India’s brand ambassador,” he added.
A tribute to freedom fighters
After unfurling the Tricolour PM Modi paid homage to all the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for India’s independence. “Whether it was Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi or Chittoor Chennamma, Rani Gaindilu, be it our first PM Jawaharlal Nehru, or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, or the framer of our constitution Dr BR Ambedkar, India is remembering all of them. This is the day to remember our great freedom fighters.”
Modi had already taken a step in this direction of remembering our ancestors on August 14. In a tweet, Modi marked August 14 as ‘Partition Horrors Rememberance Day’ saying, “The partition pains can never be forgotten.”
He called the partition of 1947 as one of the biggest horrors of the last century. “We celebrate independence but the pain of partition still pierced our heart,” he said.
The war with Covid-19
India, in the last 75 years, has worked hard and with speed and the result of this is an assurance from our scientists and entrepreneurs, of our own vaccines to fight COVID-19, said Modi. He added, “We took so many years to get the Polio vaccine, and without our indigenous vaccines we would have had to wait for vaccines against COVID-19, and as a result, we are running the biggest vaccination programme. This is the biggest in the world. We can proudly announce that more than 54 crore people have received their vaccine shots so far.”
Modi said, “Our nurses, paramedical staff, sanitation workers, those who helped develop the vaccines, all those who served the country every minute through the COVID-19 pandemic, they too are in our hearts.”
Lauding the efforts of the Olympic contingent
He also mentions Tokyo Olympic athletes present at the Red Fort and says, “The Athletes have not just won medals but are an inspiration to a generation.” He also added that their performance encouraged the youth of the country. Around 240 Olympians, support staff and Sports Authority of India and sports federation officials were part of this year’s celebrations at the Red Fort.
Target, 100th I-Day celebrations. A promise for the next 25 years
“The 75th Independence Day should not be merely a ceremony; we have to march with new pledges for the next 25 years,” said Modi.
He set the 100th Independence Day as a target to achieve the goal of building Aatmanirbhar Bharat. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayaas’ is vital for building a new India, said Modi. He said, “We have to move towards achieving 100 per cent of our efforts. We have to ensure that 100 per cent of villages have roads, 100 per cent of households with a bank account, there is 100 per cent of beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat cards and 100 per cent of eligible people receive gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme.”
Currently, more than 4.5 crore new households have received piped water supply within two years of ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, added PM Modi. “A time comes in the development journey of every country when that country defines itself from a new end when it takes itself forward with new resolutions. Today is the time for India’s new developmental journey.”
Minimum government, but maximum governance
He said that India has moved towards a ‘people-centric approach’, especially when it comes to bureaucracy. “We have to stop the over-involvement of government in the form of complex policies. Today, we have destroyed over 15,000 unnecessary compliances. A political will is required to bring in bigger changes and reforms. Today, the world can see that there is no dearth of political will in India. Good and smart governance is needed to bring in reforms,” asserted PM Modi.
“In his Bharat ki Vikas Yatra, we don’t have to limit our celebrations to Amrit Mahotsav, alone,” said PM Modi.
The importance of the OBC Bill
PM Modi said that hand-holding of deprived communities is necessary and so, the reservation being ensured for Dalits, STs, backwards, general category poor, is vital. It is essential to fully utilise the capabilities of India, to take it to new heights and for this hand-holding is a must. The OBC Bill will help in achieving this mission, said Modi.
“Development should be inclusive. The Northeast region, the Himalayan region including Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, the coastal belt, and tribal regions will make a foundation for India’s development in the future. Ladakh is witnessing a new transformative phase where the government is focusing on building world-class infrastructure,” said PM Modi.
He added, “We have to bring out the potential of our North East and give them equal opportunities in this developmental journey of our nation.”
PM Modi calls for the welfare of ‘small farmers’, said they must become India’s pride. “We have to deal with the fact that our farmers now have less land to cultivate on. More than 80 per cent of our farmers have less than two hectares of land. We have to focus on helping our small farmers. We have to give maximum benefits of the government’s schemes to them; be it through DBT or Krishi Rail,” said PM Modi.
PM Modi said that 10 crore farmer families have directly received over Rs 1.5 lac crore in their bank accounts.
In addition, SVAMITVA Yojna is transforming the lives of rural India. Drones are helping rural citizens map their land and apply for various schemes or loans, online.
75 weeks of ‘Amrit Mahotsav’
“We have pledged to celebrate 75 weeks of ‘Amrit Mahotsav’, starting March 12, 2021, till August 15, 2023. Indian Railways is also being transformed rapidly as the nation progresses towards ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. The country has resolved that 75 Vande Bharat trains will be connecting every corner of the country in 75 weeks of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence,” said PM Modi.
Over 75,000 Health & Wellness Centres have been built and are further working on a network of hospitals at the block level. “Under the Jan Ausadhi Yojana, the poor and needy are now getting affordable medicines,” said PM Modi.
National Education Policy to strengthen education
The National Education Policy will also focus on encouraging teaching in regional languages. When students will learn their lessons in a language that is close to their hearts, it will surely give them new founded confidence, said the PM.
In another move that aims at strengthening the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative, PM Modi announced that all Sainik Schools across the country will now be open for girls. He said, “Today, be it education or Olympics, our daughters are performing tremendously well. We have to ensure that they get equal opportunities and they feel safe and respected.”
Climate change efforts and National Hydrogen Mission
Keeping in view climate change, PM Modi announced the National Hydrogen Mission. He said that Green Hydrogen is the future of the world. “Today, I announce the setting up of the National Hydrogen Mission with the aim of becoming the new global hub of Green Hydrogen, and also its largest exporter,” he said.
PM Modi added that India is the only nation that is on the path to meeting its climate goals. It is not energy independent. He added, “It spends over Rs 12 lac crore on importing energy. As we celebrate 75 years of Independence, we have to ensure that India becomes Aatma Nirbhar in energy production too. The world believes in India’s leadership in environmental issues and International Solar Alliance is an example of that.”
Stronger armed forces
“India is not only dealing with terrorism but also expansionism. I want to assure our citizens that we will leave no stone unturned in supporting our armed forces,” said PM Modi.