New Delhi, Aug 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a major infrastructural push in form of a Rs 100 lakh crore plan as he addressed the nation on 75th Independence Day, and touched upon several issues from Covid deaths to Olympics medals and national security among others.
The Prime Minister hoisted the tri-colour, and for the first time, flower petals were showered by two Mi 17 V5 helicopters of Indian Air Force.
From the ramparts of Red Fort, the Prime Minister announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti National Master Plan’, a national infrastructure master plan which will set a foundation for holistic infrastructure and give an integrated pathway to the economy.
As the country faces high unemployment rates, the Prime Minister said this plan will boost employment opportunities as well.
Talking about the second wave of the Covid-19, the Prime Minister said the “intolerable pain” of losing people to the pandemic will always be there.
He said the situation in the second wave was challenging as India does not have as much resources as compared to “prosperous nations”.
“Many people could not be saved, many children became orphan. This intolerable pain is always going to be there,” he said.
He also lauded Indian scientists for the Corona virus vaccines developed domestically, and thanked all healthcare workers and citizens who helped others in the pandemic. Corona warriors were also invited to Red Fort to witness the Independence Day celebrations.
While refraining from making any direct comments on the ongoing farmers’ agitation, the Prime Minister launched a new moto in his speech for the small farmers.
“Chhota kisan bane desh ki shaan (small farmer is should be the pride of nation), this is our dream,” Modi said, adding that 80 per cent farmers in the country have less than two hectares of landholding.
Mentioning Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister assured elections would soon be held in the new Union Territory, and the exercise for delimitation has started.
“The Delimitation Commission has been constituted in Jammu and Kashmir and preparations are on for holding assembly elections in the future,” the prime minister said, though he did not give any timeline for holding the elections.
On national security, the Prime Minister said India is facing both terrorism and expansionism, even as he did not name any country.
This is at a time when India is facing a stand off with China along its northern border, and also facing the brunt of terrorism with the situation aggravating following developments in Afghanistan.
“India is fighting both terrorism and expansionism,” Modi said adding that India is facing the challenge with courage and determination.
He also mentioned the “surgical strikes”, and said, “By conducting surgical strikes and airstrikes, we have given a message of the emergence of a new India to our enemies. It also conveys that India can take tough decisions”.
The Prime Minister said the world is witnessing reforms in governance in India, the world can “there is no dearth of political will in India.” .
He described the coming 25 years in the run up to 100 years of independence as ‘Amrit Kaal’, and said government will ensure services reach every citizen to the last mile.
Mr Modi stressed that many old laws and procedures needed to be done away with, and said that his government has already abolished many old laws.
This was the eighth Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Modi from the ramparts of Red Fort. The Prime Minister spoke for 88 minutes.