Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation for the third time from the ramparts of Red Fort to celebrate the 70th year of India's independence from British colonial rule. He spoke for over 90 minutes.
Here's the full text of the speech while you can catch the highlights here:
My dear countrymen,
From the ramparts of Red Fort, I greet 125 crore fellow countrymen - within and outside India, on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day.
On this 70th festival of freedom, we have a new resolve, a new resolution, a new enthusiasm, a new vitality to take country to new and greater heights. Our freedom reminds us of the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and their devotion to the cause of freedom through struggle and sacrifice. On this occasion, we remember those young people who went willingly to gallows. We are breathing today in free India, thanks to Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru and many other great leaders and people who struggled and worked consistently towards freedom of the country.
India is an ancient nation. We have a history and cultural heritage of thousands of years. From Vedas to Vivekananda, from Upnishads to satellites, from Lord Krishna to Mahatma Gandhi, and from Bhima of Mahabharata to Bhim Rao; we have had a long historic journey and heritage. This land has seen many ups and downs, and struggle through several generations. Many of them dedicated themselves to make a better human life.
India is not 70 years old, but it is a journey of 70 years post-colonial rule. After Independence, we made efforts to take the country forward under a new system. Sardar Vallbhai Patel unified the country and now it is our duty to make this country as the best nation. We have to make continuous efforts to realise our dream to make India “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”.
My fellow brothers and sisters, freedom has not come without a price. There were endless atrocities but the resolve was unwavering. Every Indian was a soldier of the freedom movement. Everyone wanted freedom of the country. It is possible that someone might not have been imprisoned, someone might not have been able to make sacrifice but even then, every Indian had a resolve for freedom. Mahatma Gandhi was the leader.
It was the motivation of the sacrifice of armed revolutionaries which led to Swaraj. But now, to change the self governance into good governance is the resolve of 125 crore citizens. If the Swaraj was achieved through sacrifice, attainment of Suraj (good governance ) is also not possible without sacrifice, valor, dedication and discipline. So to further the Good-Governance resolve of 125 crore people, all have to move ahead with their respective responsibilities and dedication.
In order to attain Good Governance, everyone has to fulfill its responsibilities, be it a Panchayat or Parliament, be it a Gram Pradhan or a Prime Minister, to strengthen every democratic institution. Only then, India will not take too much time in realizing the dream of Good-Governance.
It is true that our country is confronted with a number of problems but we must not forget that if there are problems, the country also has capabilities and when we move ahead with such capabilities, the paths of solutions also become available. So, my brothers and sisters, if India have millions of problems, we have 125 crore brains also which are capable of solving the problems.
Brothers and sisters, there was a time when Governments in our country were mired in allegations, but time has changed now. Today, the Government is not surrounded by charges and allegations, but by expectations. And when there are expectations around, it is an indication that when there is hope, when there is trust, then only expectations arise from their womb, and expectations speed up the journey towards good governance, and fulfill expectations on a continuous basis. So my brothers and sisters, for us this journey of Surajya … today when I am speaking to you from the ramparts of the Red Fort, it is but natural that there will be discussion as to what the Government is doing and what is happening in the country, what should be done for the country. I can also present a detailed account of what the Governments has done and can underline many things.
A large number of initiatives have been taken in two years’ tenure, numerous actions taken, but if I start elaborating, then maybe I will have to speak from the rampart of Red Fort for one week. So instead of that, today I want to draw your attention towards the work culture of this Government, not the work only. Sometimes it is easy to account for the work but it is not easy for a layman to know, grasp, understand and identify the work culture until you go into depth.
So my brothers and sisters, today I am not talking only of the policy but also of the intent and the decisions. Brothers and sisters, it is not an issue of direction only but a matter of wider attitude.
This is not only an outline. It is a commitment for transformation. This is confluence of people’s expectations, democracy and people’s support. This is a desire and also consent, this is a momentum and also expression of progress.
Therefore my beloved countrymen, today when I speak of good governance, my straight forward meaning is – to make a difference in the life of the common man. Good governance means that administration should be sensitive, should be responsible and should be dedicated to the common man. And then we need to emphasize on good governance, keep on exploring the responsibility of everyone, responsibility and accountability should be at the root of good governance and it should get sustenance from there. Therefore, administration should be sensitive.
Just remember the times, when if we had to go to any big hospital, we had to wait for many days. When people used to come to AIIMS, they had to wait for two to three days to just know when they will have to undergo the tests. Today we have been able to change the entire system. There is an online registration, online appointment of doctors, and when the patient comes at the time given to him, his treatment starts. Not only this, his medical records are available online. And in the area of health, we want to develop this culture throughout the country. Today, the government has brought this system in more than 40 big hospitals but the bottom line is that administration should be sensitive. Brothers and sisters, the administration should be accountable. If the administration is not accountable, the problems of the common man remain unattended. How does change happen- we have technology but there was a time when rail tickets ……….common man of India is linked to rail tickets, the poor man is linked to it. Earlier, through technology, only 2000 tickets were issued in one minute. There was a time – people waited for the website to open. Today I can say with satisfaction that in one minute, 15,000 rail tickets can be issued.
The government should be accountable as to how a responsible Government should take steps on the basis of the needs and aspirations of the common man.
There is a class in the country, especially the middle class, the upper middle class, who is more troubled with income- tax officials than the police. I have to change this situation, I am trying and I will change it. But there was a time when an honest Taxpayer would pay his income-tax, even pay extra two rupees so that he does not face any problem. But, once the tax was deposited, he would face difficulties in getting refund. He even had to go to the extent of canvassing and wait endlessly for the refund. Now, we have introduced a system of online refund. Now refund is done within a time frame of 1 to 3 weeks. Those who are watching this telecast on television will also agree that their refund reached them directly, without any application for it. This became possible only due to efforts in making government accountable.
You know, for good governance, transparency is important. Our society is now gradually becoming connected with the world. Earlier, only 40-50 lakhs people used to apply for passport in a year. Now a days, 2 crore people apply for it. Earlier 4 to 6 months were wasted only in inquiries if someone had no recommendation. But now the situation has changed. I can say with pride that now citizens can get a passport in 1 to 2 weeks, without any recommendation/canvassing. It is due to transparency in governance. No delay, no need of recommendation. Today I can say that, in a short time during 2015-16 itself, we have issued 1.75 crore passports to our citizens.
Efficiency is the hallmark of Good governance. Earlier if anyone wanted to start a company or business, they had to even struggle for its registration for a minimum of at least 6 months. But this situation has now changed. Due to efficiency in governance now, the same employees under the same rule complete the process of company registration within 24 hours. In last July itself, 900 of such registrations materialised.
My fellow brothers and sisters, for good rule, good governance is necessary. We have taken many steps for good governance. Last year, I announced that there will be no interview for group C and group D posts. They will get jobs on the basis of merit. We have identified almost 9000 such posts. Now these 9000 posts will not be put for the process of interview. Our young aspirants will not have to spend any money for appearing for interviews nor they will have to search for someone for canvassing or recommendation. Doors for corruptions and middle men have been shut and this system is now in place.
My fellow brothers and sisters, there was a time when government used to announce the scheme and spell out what will be done under the said scheme. It was the practice to keep the people satisfied. People used to hope that something will happen now. Then they started inquiring about plans. Subsequently, the people demanded to know about budget. Over the past 70 years, the mindset of country has changed. People are not satisfied with the launch of schemes, the plan details, and the budget provisions. The common man is satisfied only when something appears on the ground. We can’t make things work on ground at a slow pace. We will have to accelerate our speed, move at faster pace.
Rural Roads in our country- Every person in a village expects permanent concrete road. A very big task- Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji started it with special attention. And the later Governments continued it, promoted it. We have tried to give it speed. Earlier it was 70-75 Kilometers per day of Rural Road construction. Today we have increased it to 100 Km a day. This speed will meet the expectations of common man in the coming days.
We are laying emphasis on power in our country, and in particular on the Renewable Energy. There was a time - after many years of Independence, work on Wind Energy started. In the last one year, we have increased it nearly by 40 percent. This is the meaning of speed. Solar Energy… now the entire world is paying attention to it. We have increased it by 116 percent. This is not an incremental change, it is a very big high –jump. We want to increase things as per its quantum. If there is production of energy in our country, we need transmission lines and a proper system of transmission lines. Two years before the formation of our government, 30-35 thousand kms of transmission lines were being laid every year. With satisfaction, I can say that today, we have made it up to 50,000 Kilometers. This is a task of speeding up. If we talk about Rail line commissioning, and commissioning means track ready to run trains, completion of all trials. In the previous 10 years, it was 1500 kms, and today we are able to make it up to 3500 kms in two years. We are furthering this speed.
My Brothers and sisters, today we are stressing on direct benefit by linking the Aadhar Card with the government schemes, thereby stopping the leakages. In the earlier regime, nearly 4 crore people could be added to government schemes with Aadhar Card. Today, I can say with great satisfaction that compared to the number of 4 crore, we have completed the task of linking 70 crore citizens with the Aadhar and Government schemes. Whatever is left, is also being completed.
In our country, a middle class man or woman takes prestige in having a car in their home. There was a time that a gas stove in a house was taken as a standard and a status in the society. During a span of 60 years after independence, LPG could be provided to about 14 crore people. I am satisfied that on one side there were 14 crore LPG connection in 60 years and on the other we have given 4 crore new connections in just 60 weeks. Where does 14 crore in 60 years stand against 4 crore in 60 weeks. This is a speed with which the change in the quality of life of the common man has been brought about.
We have started the cleaning the web of laws. Burden of multiplicity of laws is creating trouble for the government, judiciary and the citizens. We have identified 1700 such laws. The Parliament has already abolished about 1175 laws and we want to abolish the remaining such laws.
It had become the nature in the country to believe that somethings can be done, but other things cannot be done. It cannot be done now, and nobody is sure whether it can be done in the future. Pessimism had started to become our nature. It was important to break this tendency, give energy to administration. And when we see some success we get encouraged, our energy increases, our resolve get sharpened and the results start looking closer.
When we started Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana, it seemed to be an almost impossible task. For so many years, there were banks, there was Government, bank nationalization had already happened, but the common man was not part of country’s economic mainstream. By linking 21 crore families, 21 crore citizens with Jan Dhan Yojana, a seemingly impossible task has been done. This is not a matter of credit for the government- it has been done by 125 crore of countrymen and therefore I salute my countrymen.
Honouring the women in the villages of India is another aspect of this initiative. Open defecation should be stopped - there should be toilets in villages. When I had the privilege to meet you from the ramparts of Red Fort the first time, I had expressed my feelings about how this can happen in our country. Today I can tell you that within this short period, more than 2 crore toilets have been built. More than 70 thousand villages have been freed from open defecation. We are working to make changes in the normal life of the people.
Last year from the ramparts of Red Fort, I had said that within next thousand days, we will bring electricity to those 18,000 villages where even after 70 years of independence there was no electricity. They were compelled to live in the 18th century. We resolved to convert the impossible to possible. With great happiness, I can say that not even the half of the 1000 days have past, we are far away from the half way mark, and yet 10,000 villages out of 18,000 have received electricity. And I have been told that out of these, there are many villages where people will be sitting before the TV for the first time today to see the festival of independence of India. I send my special greetings to those villages from here.
Brothers and sisters, you will be surprised, that at a distance of 3 hours travel from Delhi there is a village in Hathras called Nagla-Fatela. It takes 3 hours to reach Nangla-Fatela. But it took 70 years for electricity to reach there.
And therefore, I am bringing to your notice the work being done by us, the work culture being adopted by us. My fellow brothers and sisters, those working on the LED technology research invented a bulb for the benefit of common man. LED bulb was expensive and used to sell at rupees 350 per bulb. Who would buy these costly bulbs? Government thought over it. If LED bulb can change lives in India, change environment in India, improve the economy, then it was necessary to make some efforts towards this direction. In government system of functioning, there are things when government should not interfere, but it does. And where intervention is required, it doesn’t. We are trying to change this work culture and due to the Government intervention, the LED bulb, which was selling for Rupees 350, is now being distributed for Rupees 50. You can see the difference now. I want to ask where this all money was going. We have so far distributed 13 crore LED bulbs. Our politics has become populist and populism has become hallmark of economic policies. If we had given rupees 300 per bulb to people, I would have earned praise that he is a good Prime Minister who has filled people’s pocket with Rupees 300.
Buy by distributing LED bulb at Rupees 50, we have helped people save thousands in the long run. 13 crore LED bulbs have so far been distributed. We have resolved to distribute 77 crore bulbs. And today I want to appeal to fellow countrymen please use LED bulb. You will save money annually and Save energy and save climate of the country. When we have 77 crore LED bulbs, India will save electricity worth 20000 MW. When we save 20000 MW electricity, the country will save 1.25 lakh crore rupees. My fellow brothers and sisters, if you use one LED bulb in your home, country can save 1.25 lakh crore rupees. By saving 20000 MW electricity, we can fight against global warming. We can contribute immensely to save our environment with the help of common man and that is why we have taken steps in that direction.
You know how to convert impossible into the possible. For energy and petroleum products, we are dependent on other nations. For a long time, we signed agreements so that we get things at fixed price for a longer duration. We have gas agreement with Qatar till 2024. However the gas price was such that it is proving costly for the Indian economy. Our good relations with Qatar made renegotiations possible on the said agreement. Today I can say with satisfaction that renegotiations made the impossible become possible and we could save 20000 crore rupees for the exchequer of India. Qatar was entitled to get this 20000 crore rupees but due to our good relations and character of foreign policy, we could achieve this.
Chabahar port is an essential link between India and Central Asia. Previous governments continuously talked and made efforts to implement this project. Today, this impossible task has been made possible, to my satisfaction. Iran, Afghanistan and India are jointly working to construct the Chabahar port to make this impossible task possible.
My fellow brothers and sisters, one thing that I would like to say now is connected with common man- it is price rise. It is true that during the rule of previous government, the Inflation rate crossed 10 percent mark. With our continued efforts, we have not allowed Inflation Rate to go beyond 6 percent. Not only it, currently we have come with an agreement with the Reserve Bank that it should take steps to control the inflation to 4 percent plus-minus 2 percent. Amidst the talks of the balance between Inflation and Growth, the Reserve Bank should also work further for moving ahead. There were two years drought in the country. The price of vegetables are affected instantly by the drought, shortage has its effect. Due to it, there were some problems. The two years drought also became a cause of concern due to decline in the pulses production. But brothers and sisters, had the price rise increased in the same way as it was heading earlier, I don’t know what could have happened to the poor man of my country. We have tried our best to contain it. Still this government is followed with expectations My countryman’s expectations are natural and I will leave no stone unturned in trying to achieve the goal. I will do my best efforts and will not let the food plate of poor person get costlier.
My dear brothers and sisters, the country is preparing for the 350th Anniversary of Guru Govind Singh Ji. How this country can forget the Saga of sacrifice, a tradition of Sikh Gurus and that too when it is celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Guru Govind Singh Ji. Guru Govind Singh Ji said one thing very aptly. He used to say how can I consider a hand sacred if that has not served ever, not ever done any work , the hand which has not become strong by toiling hard and there are no knots upon it. This was the saying of Guru Govind Singh Ji. Today, when we are celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Guru Govind Singh Ji, then I remember my farmer, who is the person who has more pious hands than of a farmer. Who could have a more pious heart than that of a farmer? Without it, what purpose can be more sacred than it. I salute my farmer brothers who have despite two years of drought made relentless efforts to fill the grain stores of this country.
Drought situation has changed. This time, there is a good rainfall at many places. There were troubles also at some places due to excessive rain. Government of India is with those states and citizens who are in trouble. But I want to especially facilitate our farmers for increasing the sowing of pulses by one and half times at a time when the country is facing problem due to availability of pulses. The farmers had earlier shifted to other crops at a time when the demand for pulses from the common man had increased. We have fixed the MSP for pulses. We have announced bonus for pulses. We have put in place a better system for procurement of pulses. And therefore, we are encouraging farmers to grow pulses for getting big profit.
When I had spoken about work culture, it is clear that we do not see things in compartments. We see things in a unified, integrated manner. Take the example of agriculture, where we have developed a work culture in a way that the entire chain can give big results.
Initially we paid attention to the health of mother earth, health of the soil. We brought Soil Health Card, macro-nutrition, micro- nutrition and explained to the farmers the shortcomings and strengths of their farm lands and told them which crops can and which cannot be sown in their fields. Slowly the farmers started to plan according to the soil health cards and many told me that their expenses have come down by almost 25% and the production has increased by 30%. This is a small amount but with the spread of this information, things will move ahead. The farmers have land, if they get water they can create miracles. This is the strength the farmers of this country have and therefore we have stressed on water management, irrigation and water conservation. How to use each and every drop of water, how to increase utilization of water, per drop-more crop, Micro-irrigation- we are emphasizing on it. More than 90 irrigation schemes were lying incomplete. We have resolved to first complete these projects and lakhs of people will benefit. To reduce the input cost of the farmers, we have taken a big step towards solar pumps. Farmers need electricity, for water also they need electricity and electricity is costly. Because of solar pumps, input cost of farmers will be reduced, recurring expenses will reduce. He will now own not only his farmland but also have free electricity through solar power. My farmer will be self reliant and happy. So far, we have been successful in distributing 77 thousand solar pumps.
I want to congratulate my scientists also. Along with farmland, water and solar pumps, we need good seeds also. Our scientists have developed more than 131 new variety of seeds suitable to India’s environment. These will increase per hectare yield. The quality is also increasing. I congratulate these scientists.
Farmers need Urea, fertilizers. There was a time when there was black marketing of fertilizers. One had to face police lathicharge to get fertilizers. There was a time when people had to see their harvest getting ruined due to lack of fertilizers. Now, shortage of fertilizers has become an issue of past. We have succeeded in increasing the production of fertilizers. Because of this production, the possibility of farmers getting fertilizers in time has increased.
Similarly, we have announced the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana - to protect the land owned by the farmer upto the produce of the farm. My fellow brothers and sisters, we have provided the maximum guarantee to the farmers at the lowest premium. We have built additional godowns to protect the 15 lakh tonnes produce.
Our farmers would be benefited when we do value addition and in this direction, the government is stressing on food processing and 100 per cent foreign direct investment is being encouraged. This will benefit the agro- based industry and help fulfil my dream of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022.
My fellow brothers and sisters, it has become a tradition in our country that successive governments have taken recourse to populist announcements and measures, emptied the state coffers to polish their image. I have tried to do away with this practise and emphasized on total transformation, transformation with transparency. Reform, perform, transform is the mantra which has been applied in all fields of work and range.
My fellow brothers and sisters, my government is only emphasizing the need to build an image of the country and not of any party. Only when the country’s image is carved out, it will benefit the future generations. This is why, we have stressed on creating an image of the country and not that of the government.
You would have also noticed the wide ranging work done by us in all fields. In the railways, at one level, we are talking about installing the Bio-toilets in trains and on the other hand, we also dream of running the Bullet train in the country. At one level, we are talking about the soil health card and on the other hand, we are taking strides in satellite and space technology. We not only talk about Stand-Up India but also taking steps to implement Start-Up India. We stress upon substance over symbolism. We stress upon integrated development rather than the isolated development. We stress empowerment and not entitlement.
My fellow brothers and sisters, the government is identified by the new policies announced towards this end. The government ensures continuity and if the earlier government has announced a scheme which has drawbacks, then the new government should rectify the same and take it further without being egoist as arrogance has no place in democracy. In this context, our government in all humility, has given importance to the schemes and policies of the previous governments and carried them forward as part of our work culture to develop the country and improve economy towards all round development. I personally monitor the programmes through ‘Pragati’ and review them. You would be surprised to know that 118 projects announced by governments costing over 7.5 lakhs crore rupees are pending at various stages of implementation. I have revived such projects and directed that they should be completed and now the government is doing so.
We made a project monitoring group to which I specifically instructed to find out what were the projects that were started in the past- Some 20 years ago, some 25 years ago, some 30 years ago, 15 years ago, those which were stranded. People who are living in those areas are aware of it. We identified such 270 projects, estimated at nearly 10 Lakh crore rupees for which foundation stones were laid by any government, 1000-2000 crore rupees may have been invested in some of them but it was going waste. My brothers and sisters, hindering of plans, delays in projects and wastage of money is a criminal negligence. We have again tried to make these projects workable and viable. Brothers and sisters, clearance to Railway projects used to take 2 years. Any rail line is going and we have to make overhead bridge, there were good roads constructed on both sides but the clearance was taking more than two years. Brothers and sisters, today we are doing that in three-four months, maximum six months to give the project clearance, that speed we have attained.
Brothers and sisters, whatever work we do, whatever we may plan, but we have to think on one aspect that the government is for good governance, for the delivery to the last man, how a person standing at the end of line is getting benefitted. Brothers and sisters, it is only when there is clear policy, clear intent, clean intent, then only you get the spirit for taking the decision and only then there could be decisions without any restrictions.
Only due to clear policies and clear intent and clear decisions, our government is moving ahead and stressing upon delivery to the last man.
We have seen, if you go through Uttar Pradesh Newspapers every year, sugarcane farmers’ due was a topic of discussion every time. The sugar mills do not do this, the state government does not do this, it is the farmers’ problem. The due was of thousands of crores, thousands of crores. We made plan for it, followed it. The target was that money should reach the last man delivery farmer. Whatever was the old due of thousands of crores, my brothers and sisters, I say with satisfaction that 99.5% old dues have been cleared. It has happened after many years for the first time. This time whatever amount of sugarcane came in the market and purchased, I can say with satisfaction that so far, 95% of the farmers have been paid for their crop and the rest 5% if remaining will be paid in the days to come.
Brothers and sisters, we have taken the task of providing LPG connections to poor families. Under the Ujjawala Scheme, we have vigorously launched a campaign of making my mothers free from the smoke of kitchen. Five crore poor family will get gas stoves in three years and work is going on this project. We have reached the figure of nearly 50 Lakh families and that too in just 100 days. You can assume, that it may be possible that we could complete this work well before three years. We want to stress upon the last man delivery.
Due to information technology, whatsapp, messages, online, e-mail, our post-offices were becoming irrelevant slowly. Post Office is an example of our identity. We have revived and rejuvenated our post offices. It is now linked with poor and small persons. If any government representative gets the affection of a common man in India, it is the postman. Everyone loves postman and postman also loves everybody, but we never paid attention towards them. We have taken a step to convert our post offices into payment banks. Starting of this payment bank will spread the chain of banks in the villages across the country in one go. The benefit of JAN-DHAN Account will also be available and now the MNREGA money through Aadhar Card is also getting transferred in the account of a common man leading to reduction in corruption.
Brothers and Sisters, in our country, the PSUs are formed to fall in a pit, to fail, to get locked or to be sold out. That has been the history. We have tried to bring in a new culture. And today for the first time, I can say with satisfaction that Air India which had a bad image, has succeeded in registering an operational profit last year. At a time when telecom companies all over the world were earning, BSNL was falling in a pit. For the first time, BSNL has succeeded in earning operational profit. Nobody knew whether Shipping Corporation of India would ever be in profit. Today Shipping Corporation of India is making profit. There was a time when nobody knew that a powerhouse will be operational next week or not, coal will reach there or not. A number of powerhouses were being shut down due to shortage of coal used to be the news. Today, coal is available at the door step of powerhouses. They have stock available for as many months as required. Brothers and sisters, we have done this. You have seen this.
At times, there are discussions about big corruption in our country. I have seen the common man at the lowest level suffers most due to corruption and it leads to wastage of money. We have linked Aadhaar Card and Aadhaar number with Government schemes. Brothers and Sisters, there was a time when we saw whether it was the widow pension, scholarship, schemes for divyangs, or for minorities, money used to go from Government coffers and beneficiaries’ list also used to come. But when we enquired in depth, we found there were persons in the list which were not even born. They were getting benefits of the schemes. Middle men used to siphon out millions of rupees and nobody could notice that. We drove out such middle men from the system. We transferred the money directly to the beneficiaries. We noticed that there were millions of people who never got the money. Millions of rupees used to be transferred. Now it has stopped, money has been saved, but we have said that those needy who have been left out, should be identified and the saved money should go to their accounts, to those who want to fight for their rights. We have worked in the direction of ‘last man delivery’, and we have achieved this.
Everyone knows of the power of transparency, and corruption in coal sector. There are no allegations today in the auction of coal. In the days to come, as more coal will be mined by the States, more income will come.
There was a time when there were allegations regarding auction of spectrum. We auctioned online and today the coffers of our country are getting filled. It led to a healthy competition and country benefitted from this.
Brothers and Sisters, today the world is moving in an era of global economy. Ever nation is inter-connected and inter-dependent. The entire world is connected through economic issues in some way or the other. However, much we progress, we have to keep in mind the global economy, and global arena and we have to successfully meet the global standards and match them. Then we will be relevant, then we will be able to contribute and a time will come when we will be able to lead the global economy. Therefore, we will have to be ready at all times and align ourselves with global standards. You would have seen that in recent time, World Bank, IMF, World Economic Forum, Credit Rating Agencies and all such agencies of the world have praised India’s progress. Successive decisions of India in the field of legal reforms, systematic reforms and change in approach- are being watched by the world. In ease of doing business, we have improved our ranking very fast. India has become the most favoured nation for Foreign Direct Investment. In Growth rate and GDP, we have left behind the big economies of the world.
My fellow brothers and sisters, a United Nations organization has just given a forecast about India’s future in next 2 years. According to its assessment, India, which is currently 10th in global economy will reach the 3rd position within next 2 years. My fellow brothers and sisters, global standards take into account logistical support and infrastructure while rating a country. They also compare country’s performance with developed and prosperous countries. The World Economic Forum has analyzed logistical support and infrastructure in context of India and said that India is progressing rapidly and moved up 19 steps in the rating index.
My fellow brothers and sisters, in global context, Indian economy is dynamic and moving forward on predictable lines. Approval of GST law by parliament has further strengthened our economy and all political parties are worthy of praise for making it possible.
My fellow brothers and sisters, from the ramparts of the Red Fort only, I talked about “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”. We don’t work in piecemeal basis. We have an integrated approach towards implementation of our policies. I need co-operation from society to make “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” a success. Each and every parent must remain alert on this front we must respect our daughters, provide them security and ensure that they get benefits of government policies. We have brought together crores of families with Sukanaya Samridhi Yojna. The scheme takes care of our daughters when they achieve adulthood. We have ensured that our insurance policies give maximum benefit to women. The Indradhanush vaccination program empowers our mothers and sisters, both on economic and health fronts. If we empower women on these two fronts and also educate them, then it will be real empowerment of women. If woman is educated, healthy and economically independent then she shall be capable of fighting poverty. That is why we are working towards women empowerment on health and economic prosperity. We have introduced Mudra Yojana and I am happy to know that more than 3.5 crore families have taken benefit of this scheme. Most of the people were the first timers to reach the doors of the bank and out of them 80% belong to SC/ST and OBC. Under Mudra Yojana, 80% loans were taken by women and how these women will contribute in economic development, this would be worth paying attention.
Brothers and sisters, last week we decided that our mothers and sisters who are now partners in the development journey, need leave after delivery. Earlier, they were getting maternity leave for lesser number of days. Now, we have enhanced it it to 26 weeks so that a mother could take better care of her child.
The weavers, persons working in textiles who make thread and bunch of threads, were earlier getting 100 rupees. We have enhanced this amount to 190 rupees so that, my mothers-sisters who are weaving thread, will be empowered. Those mothers and sisters and weavers who are doing silk work, for them we have increased the price of their produce by 50 rupees/meter and have decided that this amount will not go to the businessman or the broker. Instead this will go in the account of that weaver who has worked upon that silk, the fifty rupee per meter will be credited in her account through Aadhar, making my weaver empowered. We have started this scheme in that direction and its impact is visible.
My dear countrymen, when we see train, post office, we also see the unity of India there. More and more efforts we make to unite India and bring change in our system, it strengthens the unity and integrity of our country. For this, we have launched a scheme Mandi e-NAM for the farmers. Today, a farmer can sell his produce in any of the market online across the country. Today, he is not compelled to sell his produce in a market 10 kms away from his fields, at cheaper rates without any income for his hard labour. Now, in the country, through e-NAM, a Network of its own kind, Mandi Network is getting established.
Taxation through GST is also bound to bring equality and a common system that will also unite the country.
You will be surprised that earlier there was plenty of electricity without any taker and scarcity of electricity was forcing people to live in dark, factories were closing. To bring in the change in electricity supply, we have started One Nation- One Grid- One Price system with success and that too in a very short time. Earlier, one had to pay ten rupees per unit electricity in summer season. Now, when I visited Telangana, the price of electricity on that day was one rupee ten paise/unit which used to be ten rupee. This one price results in joining the country.
The worker in our country works at a place and changes his job after one-two years. His money is deducted in EPF but it was non-transferrable. You will be surprised that when I took charge of this government, 27 thousands crore rupees of my workers was stacked in the EPF, without any taker because there was no system for it.
We gave a Universal Account Number to our workers for solving this problem. Now, wherever he goes, his EPF fund will also be transferred. Whenever, a labourer retires, he will get his money and it will not remain stacked in any government coffer. We have done this.
Be it Bharatmala or Setu Bharatam or Bharat Net, we have strengthened such initiatives. The initiatives should be in the direction of uniting India, economic development of India and we are working in this direction.
Brothers and sisters, this year is important in many ways. The country is celebrating the 1000th Anniversary of Shriman Ramanujacharya Ji, the saint from South India, the country is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Guru Shrimad Rajchandra Ji and the country is also celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Sh. Guru Govind Singh Ji. The nation is observing the centenary year of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay. Today, when I am remembering Ramanujacharya Ji then I want to say one thing. Thousands of years ago, and now today, when we see social tension then Ramanujacharya ji, the saint, what message he gave to the country. Ramanujacharya Ji, used to say that all the devotees of God, should serve without having a thought of discrimination and feeling of low and high. Respect everybody and don’t humiliate anyone due to age or caste. What Gandhiji said, what Ambedkarji said what Ramanujacharyaji said what Bhagwan Buddha said, what our scriptures and our Acharya’s, teachers, saints said, is of social unity. If society breaks, a country disintegrates, get divided in lows and highs, divided by untouchability, then my brothers and sisters, that society cannot sustain. They are evils, centuries’ old evils but more old evils call for rigorous treatment with enhanced sensitivity. It happens, it can go on- the problem cannot be solved by taking this line. This is the responsibility of 125 crores countrymen, the government and the society. All will have to join hands to come out of the situation of confrontation.
Brothers and Sisters, we have to fight against the social evils. We have to rise above social evils. Every citizen will have to rise and only then we will able to make strong India. We cannot make a strong India without making a strong society. Only economic progress cannot guarantee a strong India- strong society is a guarantee for a strong India and a strong society is made by ensuring social justice. Strong society is built on the foundation of social justice and therefore it is our responsibility that we give emphasis on social justice. Be it Dalit, victim, exploited, deprived, tribal, villager or city dweller, educated, literate, small or big – all 125 crore countrymen are our family. And all of us will have to get together to take our country forward and we have to work in that direction only.
Brothers and Sisters, today the attention of the world goes towards the fact that India is a young nation. A country which has 800 million people less than 35 years of age, which is 65% of population – what can that country not do with its youth power. And therefore, Brothers and Sisters, the youth should get opportunities, youth should get employment, this is the demand of our times.
Today, when we are moving towards the birth centenary of Pt. Deendayal Uphadhyay, we remember his idea about welfare of the last man. This was the idea of Mahatma Gandhi also. Pt. Deendayal Uphadhyay adopted the idea of ‘Antyoday’. The welfare of the last man was the central point of the political philosophy of Pt. Deendayal Uphadhyay. Under this he used to say every youth should get education, every youth should have skills and every youth should have opportunity to give shape to his dreams. To fulfil the dreams of Pt. Deendayal Uphadhyay, we have taken a number of initiatives to meet the aspirations of 800 million youths of our country. In the way that new roads are being built, the country is making more vehicles, more software is being exported, more than 50 new mobile making factories have been set up, all this provides opportunity to the youth. If we have made 2 crore toilets, somebody must have got employment. Cement and iron would have come from somewhere and wood work would have been done somewhere. As the scale of work increases, job opportunities will increase and we have worked in this direction only.
In order to provide skills to crores of youth of this country, we have put Skill Development in Mission mode. We have amended the law. Though a visibly small step, but will give benefit to small shopkeepers. Model Shops and Establishment Act has been approved and now we have issued advisory to states to give an opportunity to small shopkeepers so that their shops are open till midnight 365 days on the same lines as big shopping malls. Why should a small shopkeepers close his shop after evening? We should provide for that small and poor shopkeepers open their shops till midnight all 365 days. Why we should we not provide opportunity to our sisters to work at night? We have made legal provisions so that our sisters can work during the night. We must ensure their safety and security but provide them an opportunity to work. These are the measures which will generate employment and we are working towards this direction.
My fellow brothers and sisters, we don’t believe and my government doesn’t believe in avoiding the problems. We don’t delay but confront the challenges. For doing something, problem should be faced head on. When we are celebrating Independence Day, our soldiers are on the borders to face the bullets. Some are sitting in bunkers, some don’t meet their sisters even on Raksha Bandhan because they are at the borders. Lot of soldiers are working in defence forces. Our 33000 policemen have sacrificed their lives post-Independence. Shall we forget them? How can we forget them as these are the people because of whom we are leading a peaceful life. That is why we must salute them on this occasion. One-Rank One-Pension was pending for a long time. We took up this challenge and resolved this issue. Every Indian solider felt happy after the One-Rank One-Pension was resolved and announced.
Our people desired that we must make public the files related to Netaji Subhas Babu. With all humility, I want to say that my government took up this issue which was being ignored and avoided for a long time. We disclosed the contents of these files. Netaji Subhas’s family was invited and files were made public and the process is still continuing. I have also urged other countries to make public the files related to Netaji. India has a right to know about Subhas Babu and the country’s history. We have worked in that direction.
Since the days of partition, there were border disputes with Bangladesh. These disputes remained unresolved for many decades. Now, with the help and cooperation of all political parties, we have resolved the border dispute with Bangladesh. The constitutional gave us the strength.
My fellow brothers and sisters, middle class persons dream of constructing a house, buy a flat. Builders show nicely printed booklet to buyers to lure them. The middle class do not have technical knowledge but keep giving builders money and yet the builders don’t build the houses on time. Middle class invests their life long savings and capital in this one time investment. To protect the interests of buyers, we brought forward Real Estate Bill to regulate the builders. This measure will help the middle class home buyers.
My fellow brothers and sisters, as I mentioned earlier, Shrimad Rajchandraji’s 150th anniversary is now on. Mahatma Gandhi used to treat Shrimad Rajchandraji as his guru. When he was in South Africa, Gandhiji was in touch with Rajchandraji through correspondence. In one of the letters, Shrimad Rajchandraji discussed violence and non-violence with Gandhiji. Rajchandraji said that due to the existence of violence, the concept of Non-violence came into existence. The important thing is to understand, which principle is important for you or which can be utilized for welfare of mankind.
Dear brothers and sisters, in our country the discussion on violence and non-violence is very natural. Humanism is ingrained in our veins. We are the people of a great cultural heritage. This country is full of diversity. This bouquet of Mother India is blessed with different fragrances, different colours, and different dreams. Brothers and Sisters, unity in diversity is our greatest strength. The mantra of unity is linked to our roots. Brothers and Sisters, in a country where there are more than 100 languages, hundreds of dialects, countless ways of dressing, countless life styles, despite that this country has remained one for centuries and the main reason for this is our cultural legacy. We know how to respect others, how to become a good host and how to take all on the path of progress. We have always followed this great tradition and therefore there is no place for violence and oppression in our country. If we have to strengthen India’s Democracy and to fulfill its dreams, the path of violence can never succeed.
Today in the name of Maoism in the jungles, in the name of extremism in the border areas, in the name of terrorism on the mountains, innocent people are being killed. Mother India was continuously soaked in blood, but those following the path of terrorism achieved nothing. I want to tell these youths that this country will never tolerate terrorism and will never bow to terrorism or Maoism. I want to appeal to these youths that there is still time, shun the path of violence and try to fulfill the dream of your parents. Join the mainstream and lead a life of comfort and happiness, as the path of violence has never helped anyone.
Brothers and Sisters, when we talk about foreign policy, I don’t want to present before you a detailed account. The day this Government took the oath of office, we had invited SAARC leaders. Our message was clear that all our neighboring countries have a common problem and that common challenge is poverty. So all we should come together to fight poverty. By fighting with each other, we all had suffered but if we all are determined to fight poverty, we will be able to come out of the sufferings and march towards prosperity. Therefore, I invite all the neighboring countries to join their efforts to fight poverty. There cannot be greater freedom than to free the people of India from poverty and to free the people of all countries from poverty. India will feel happy when the citizens of the neighboring countries come out of poverty.
Dear brothers and sisters, I want to present before the world two pictures (examples) that show the difference between those people who were brought up under the influence of humanism and those who reward terrorism. I want to tell the world and those who believe in humanity by narrating the two incidents that please weigh the incident at Peshawar, where the terrorists had gunned down innocent school children. The incident happened at Peshawar, it was a terror attack. Innocent boys and girls were killed, the temple of learning was soaked in blood by killing innocent children. There were tears in the eyes of Parliamentarians. Indian schools children were crying. Every child in India felt the shock of the death of children of Peshwar. They could not stop crying. The children of Peshwar who were killed by terrorists gave us immense pain and agony. This is our culture, borne out of humanism. On the other hand, terrorism is being glorified. When innocent people are killed in terrorist attacks, there are celebrations. What kind of life is this which is inspired by terrorism? How governments are formed through inspiration of terrorism. The world will understand this difference clearly. That is enough for me.
Today from the ramparts of Red Fort, I want to greet and express my thanks to some people. In the last few days, people of Balochistan, Gilgit, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have thanked me, have expressed gratitude, and expressed good wishes for me. The people who are living far away, whom I have never seen, never met - such people have expressed appreciation for Prime Minister of India, for 125 crore countrymen. This is an honour for our countrymen.
Brothers and Sisters, today when we are celebrating 70 years of Independence, we remember the contribution of our freedom fighters. Today, for the respected family members of these freedom fighters, the Government has decided to increase the pension by 20%. So the freedom fighter who used to get Rs. 25,000 earlier will get Rs. 30,000 now. This is a small offering from my side to the sacrifices made by these freedom fighters.
Brothers and Sisters, when we talk about the history of our freedom struggle, a lot is spoken about a few people. In fact, in some cases, it is more than necessary. But in our freedom struggle, the contribution of our tribals living in the forests was incomparable. They lived in jungles. We may have heard about Birsa Munda but there is hardly any tribal district which did not make sacrifices since 1857 till we got freedom. What is freedom? What is struggle against slavery? They have taught us with their sacrifices. But our coming generations are not fully aware of this history. The Government desires and is planning permanent museums in the States where these tribals lived, struggled against the Britishers and refused to be bowed down. The Government will work to make such museums in different states so that the coming generations may know how our tribals were far ahead in making sacrifices.
Brothers and sisters, in issues relating to price rise, some things are much talked about but our experience is that even if a person in a poor household gets sick, his entire economy is shattered. Even the marriage of daughter gets stalled, the education of children suffers. Sometimes, no food can be arranged. The health care services are getting costlier and hence today from the rampart of Red Fort, our government is announcing an important step for the health care of such families which are below the poverty line. We have brought a scheme that in future, for such poor families the government of India will incur an expenditure of upto 1 Lakh rupee so that my poor brothers are not deprived of health services and their dreams are not shattered.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, let’s move ahead with a new resolve, new energy, new vigor and new hope on the occasion of this pious occasion of Independence Day. Let us be inspired by the persons who sacrificed their lives for the country, live for our country, work for the country, fulfill our responsibilities and inspire others to fulfill their responsibilities. We should move ahead for the realization of one society, one dream, one resolve, one direction for achieving our goals. With this thought, once again I pay homage to the great persons, the soldiers who put in their lives in danger to protect us, remember the sacrifice of 33,000 persons, and dream of the future of the country and dedicating myself today, I call upon all of you from the ramparts of Red fort to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai……….
This sound must reach every corner of the world
Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Bharat Ki jai
Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram
Jai Hind, Jai Hind,Jai Hind,
Many Many thanks