New Delhi, August 15: In his first Independence Day address after beginning second term at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of his decisive move in Jammu & Kashmir, which has ended up revoking the state's special status. Modi said the move has fulfilled the dream of late former union home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Patel's vision of "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat" is complete with the integration of Jammu & Kashmir into India, Modi said, adding that the country now has only a single flag and a single constitution. He was referring to the abrogation of J&K's flag and constitution through the revocation of Article 370. Live Updates of PM Modi's Independence Day Address to the Nation.
Apart from justifying the measure taken by his government in J&K, Modi also recalled the steps implemented by his erstwhile government over the last five years to strengthen the society, and empower women and the downtrodden.
Here Are Highlights of PM Modi's August 15 Speech:
- "We do not believe in creating problems or prolonging them. In less than 70 days of the new Government, Article 370 has become history, and in both Houses of Parliament, 2/3rd of the members supported this step We want to serve Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh," the PM said.
- Modi also told the nation that it was essential for his government to establish a Jal Shakti Ministry, as nearly half of the households in the nation do not have piped water connection.
- "India understands the important of water conservation and thus, a new ministry for Jal Shakti has been created. Steps have been taken to make the medical sector even more people friendly," he said.
- Modi said he has also cracked down on sections of the bureaucracy which sought a delay in implementation of projects and were allegedly involved in graft.
- "Such officers were told to leave now. Now the nation wants to develop on a fast speed. There is no place for them to obstruct the pace of development," he said, referring to the recent orders issued by his government to forcefully retire officials under various Ministries.
- On black money and corruption, Modi said his government is continuously striving towards eliminating the menace, and extract the money illicitly hoarded by corrupt individuals and firms.
- Modi also reiterated his vision of "ease of doing business", claiming that his government has been constantly removing obsolete laws which serve no purpose than to embroil entrepreneurs in red tape.
- "I always ask this question..can we not reduce the interference of Governments in people's lives? Let our people have the freedom to follow their own aspirations. We have abolished a lot of laws," he said.
- The Prime Minister further added that he would like to move beyond ease of doing business. "The government wants to provide of 'ease of living' to the people," he added.
- Linking the adverse living standard to the "population explosion", Modi said the need of the hour is to have a greater discussion and awareness on family size. Those who restrict the number of offsprings are actually doing a service to the nation, the PM further said.
- "Population explosion in the country will create various problems for the coming generations. Those who follow the policy of small family also contribute to the development of the nation, it is also a form of patriotism," he said.
- Expressing optimism on the economic front, Modi said he firmly believes that India would be a 5 trillion dollar economy in the near future.
- "Today, the Government in India is stable, policy system is predictable. World is eager to trade with India. We are working to keep prices under check and speed up development. The fundamentals of our economy are strong," he said.
- From the ramparts of Red Fort, Modi also wished the people of Afghanistan who would be celebrating their 100th Independence Day on August 19.
- On terrorism, the PM called it a regional as well as a global challenge, adding that India cannot remain a mute spectator while nations in its neighbourhood are being devastated by terror attacks.
- The Prime Minister also took a veiled jibe against Pakistan, saying that India has exposed before the world that which nation is backing the menace of terrorism. "Those who give protection to terrorism and support it must be exposed," he said.
- Towards the end his speech, Modi also made a major announcement - the constitution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) -- who would work jointly with the three wings of the armed forces.
Watch Video of PM Modi's Full Speech From Red Fort on Independence Day 2019:
Modi's address comes less than three months after he returned to power with an unprecedented mandate. His party, the BJP, ended up winning 303 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, whereas, the saffron alliance of NDA ended up bagging a total of 343 constituencies.