Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his government had the courage to take “bold decisions”, like MSP for farmers and GST, putting India on a new trajectory, unlike the previous regime that he alleged had suffered from indecisiveness. He started his speech with how his government had been working for the upliftment of Dalits and backward sections. PM Modi also announced several new schemes and promised several first missions for the country.
In his fifth and last Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort ahead of the next Lok Sabha election, the PM said institutions and economic scientists across the world used to refer India as a “risky economy but today the same institutions and the same individuals are saying with confidence that reforms have given India a new momentum and strong fundamentals”.
Targeting the Congress-led UPA but without naming it, PM Modi said if his government had worked with the speed followed in 2013, it would have taken a century in making India open defecation free or electrifying every part or even providing LPG connection to every woman.
The Prime Minister spoke on several issues:
ECONOMY: Indians today across the globe are feeling proud as the country has become the sixth largest economy in the world, he said. While decisions have been held back in the past due political and other compulsions, bold decisions like the GST are being taken now, he said. “The world was worried earlier about India as it saw the country among the fragile five, now it looks at us with hope,” he said.
“The world earlier viewed India as a country hit by policy paralysis, delayed reforms, now it sees it as a multi-trillion dollar investment destination,” he said, adding that his government also took the bold measure of announcing the minimum support price for grains at 1.5 times the cost to farmers.
SPACE MISSION: PM Modi announced a manned mission to space by 2022. “In space technology, we have dreamt something, our scientists have dreamt something. And I am happy to announce that by 2022, the 75th Independence year, we are planning a manned space mission. We will put an Indian in space by 2022 or earlier,” he said.
He said India was proud of its scientists, who were excelling in their research and were at the forefront of innovation. “Our scientists have made us proud. They launched over 100 satellites… They successfully completed the Mars mission.”
HEALTHCARE SCHEME: PM Narendra Modi announced that his government will launch an ambitious healthcare scheme on September 25 this year which will benefit 50 crore citizens of the country. He said the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat) will be launched on September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. “The healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians,” he said.
“It is essential to ensure that we free the poor of India from the clutches of poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare.”
The ambitious Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families. The scheme aims to target poor, deprived rural families and identified the occupational category of urban workers’ families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, and will cover around 50 crore people.
INCIDENTS OF RAPE: PM Modi said the narrow mentality towards women has to end and justice must prevail. “We have to free our society and country from this disgusting mentality of rape. In Madhya Pradesh, a rapist was hanged by a fast track court. People should know this. Rule of law is supreme and no one can take the law in their hands,” he said.
HOUSING: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he wanted to provide a quality life for all Indians, which includes housing, electricity, water and other amenities. “Housing for all, power for all, water for all, LPG for all, toilet for all, skill for all, health for all, insurance for all, connectivity for all. Malnutrition is a big problem. I want to provide quality life to my people.”
JAMMU AND KASHMIR: PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday said Kashmir’s problems can be resolved only by embracing its people, not with bullets or abuses. He said his government was following the teachings of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “Atalji called for `insaniyat` (humanity), `Kashmiriat` (eclectic Kashmiri culture) and `jamhooriyat` (democracy). I also said that the issues in Kashmir can be resolved by embracing the people of Kashmir.”
PM Modi said his government was committed for the all-round development of all sections and regions in Jammu and Kashmir, the country`s only Muslim-majority state. He said Jammu and Kashmir, now under Governor`s Rule, would hold the much-awaited Panchayat and local body elections. He did not say when.