Prime Minister’s Address on 71st Independence Day, 15 August, 2017
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 71st Independence Day on 15 August, 2017. Shri Modi said we are fortunate to have in our cultural and historical heritage from a Sudarshan Chakradhari Mohan to Charkhadhari Mohan. This year we are commemorating the centenary of Champaran Satyagrah and the Sabarmati Ashram. The centenary of Lokmanya Tilak’s call “Swaraj is my birth right” falls this year as well.
• We have to leave this ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude. We have to think of ‘Badal Sakta Hai’- this attitude will help us as a nation.
• The law against Benami property was lying in limbo for years. Now, we have come up with a law against Benami Property. In such a short time, the government has unearthed Benami properties worth over Rs.800 crores.
• The ‘One Rank – One Pension’ policy for our defence forces was stuck up for 30-40 years. Our government implemented it.
• The country has many states and a Central Government. GST has shown the spirit of cooperative federalism and has given competitive cooperative federalism a new strength.
• New systems are emerging. Today roads are being built at twice the speed. The railway tracks are being laid at double the speed. More than 14 thousand villages that were hitherto shrouded in darkness even after Independence, have been provided with electricity. Bank accounts of 29 crore people have been opened, more than 9 crore farmers have got Soil Health Card. More than 2 crore poor mothers and sisters are no longer using the fuel wood and using LPG gas stove now. The poor tribals have gained faith in the system. The person at the last mile of development now joins the mainstream and the nation is marching ahead.
• India today has gained in stature across the globe. You will be happy to know that we are not alone in our fight against terrorism. Many nations are proactively supporting us.
• I deeply appreciate the efforts of security forces in curbing the Left Wing extremism which mobilized a lot of youth from these regions to surrender and joined the mainstream.
• I review Government Projects every month. A specific project came to my notice. It was a 42-year old project. 70-72 kilometres of Railway lines were to be laid, but the project was lying in limbo for the last 42 years.
• If each one of us, irrespective of where he belongs to, strives with a new resolve, a new energy, a new strength, we can change the face of the country with our combined strength in the 75th year of our independence in 2022. It will be the New India – a secure, prosperous and strong nation.
• A New India where there is equal opportunity for all; where modern science and technology play an important role in bringing glory for the nation in the global arena.
• In the New India, the biggest strength is democracy. But we have reduced our democracy to mere ballot boxes. However, democracy cannot be confined only to ballot boxes. Hence our resolve is to see to it that we have a democracy in New India, where people are not driven by the system, rather the system is driven by the people. Such a democracy should become the identity of New India and we want to move towards that direction.
• Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.” Our farmers have not looked back since then. They are now producing record harvests and scaling new heights despite facing natural adversities. There has been a record production of pulses this year.
• India never had the tradition to import pulses and if it had to import on rare occasions, it was only a few thousand tons. This year when they produced 16 lakh tons of pulses to provide nutrition to the poor, the government took the historic step of encouraging them by buying their produce.
• ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna’ has provided a security cover to our farmers. Three years back, this scheme which was running under a different name earlier, covered only 3.25 crore farmers.
• ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna’ aims to meet the demand of water of the farmers. If my farmers get water, they can produce rich harvests from their fields.
• Over the last three years, we have set up 6 IITs, 7 new IIMs and 8 new IIITs and we have also done the groundwork for linking the education with job opportunities.
• Our mothers and sisters are an integral unit of our families. And that is why we have decided to increase the paid maternity leave to 26 weeks from the earlier 12 weeks.
• Making India corruption-free is an important task and we are trying to provide impetus to it. Demonetization followed this move. We have achieved several milestones through demonetization.
• You will be surprised to know that there are some shell companies operating from a single address. As many as 400 companies have been found to be operating from one address. There was no one to question them. There was a total collusion.
• We have taken several steps and I am sure that post GST, it will increase further and bring in transparency. Today a truck driver on an average is able to save 30% of his travel time from one point to another after GST was introduced.
• Cheap medicines through ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ are a boon to the poor. There used to be a lot of expenditure on operations and stents. We are striving to make it possible for knee operations as well.
• We asserted our supremacy in the world by introducing Tejas aircraft. BHIM Aadhaar App for digital transaction has come as a surprise to the world. Crores of RuPay Cards are now available in the country. When all the cards will be operational, it will be the largest number of cards in the world.
• I shall urge you to take up the New India Pledge and move ahead. Our scriptures say, “अनियत काल:, अनियत कालः प्रभुत्यो विपलवन्ते, प्रभुत्यो विपलवन्ते”. It implies that, if we don’t accomplish a work within the stipulated time then we shall not be able to get the desired results. So for the ‘Team India’, for the 125 crore countrymen, we have to take the pledge to achieve the goal by 2022.