Calling on the Indians to re-dedicate themselves to unfinished tasks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday there is a need to “hand hold” sections that are lagging and set the goal of “saturation” or 100% coverage of beneficiaries of schemes such as banking accounts for the poor, health cover under Ayushman Bharat and Ujjwala.
In his eighth Independence Day address, PM Modi spoke of the Centre’s decision to implement OBC reservations in all-India quota in medical seats in the context of the need to ensure equity. “We need to provide hand holding to the backward categories... along with the concern of fulfilling basic needs, reservation is being ensured for Dalits, backward classes, adivasis and poor from general category,” he said. “By formulating a law in Parliament, the right to make their own list of OBCs has been given to states.”
PM Modi called for efforts to ensure amenities reach each household, referring to plans like “har ghar jal” that has delivered tap water to over 45 million households.
Preparations on to hold J&K polls
There comes a time in the development journey of every country when the country redefines itself afresh and pushes forward with new resolutions,” he said as he promised that there will be no shortfall in political will to grasp the moment and achieve developmental goals, adding “sabka prayas (efforts of all)” to the slogan “Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas, Sab ka vishwas”. At the start of his speech, he called for a round of applause for the Indian Olympic contingent, saying they represent the potential of India’s youth and a can-do spirit.
He similarly praised Corona warriors, saying the nation owes them a big debt and, in a rebuttal of criticism of the vaccination programme, he said India was one of few countries to have its own shots. “Think what would have happened if we did not have our own vaccines,” he said.
PM Modi said the goal of ‘amrit kaal’ in the next 25 years to the centenary of Independence is to ascend to new heights of prosperity, to create an India where modern infrastructure ensures villages and cities are not divided on the basis of facilities and government does not interfere needlessly in the lives of citizens.
The eastern India, northeast region, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and the entire Himalayan region as well as the coastal belt will be crucial for the development of India in future, PM Modi said, indicating that development deficits in these regions are being addressed.
PM Modi highlighted the abrogation of Article 370 along with the “peaceful” resolution of the Ramjanmabhoomi dispute as major achievements. “The spirit of the democracy is to ensure equal opportunity to everyone’s capabilities. The development is reflecting at ground level be it J&K. The delimitation commission in J&K has been constituted and preparations are on to hold the assembly polls soon.” He said Ladakh is also marching to realising exponential growth.
The prime minister called for a collective approach for the “next generation infrastructure”, world class manufacturing, cutting-edge innovation and new-age technology. In the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative, he said, “Country’s manufacturers should understand that their each product is brand ambassador of India.” The Corona crisis has witnessed emergence of thousands of startups that are working successfully.
The Prime Minister spoke about the new education policy, which, he said, has been drafted to make it a tool to fight against poverty. “Sports is now mainstream education and no more an extracurricular activity.” He also pointed to the decision to enrol girls in Sainik Schools.
Prime minister Modi also made a brief reference to terrorism and border disputes without naming any country, saying “India is battling both the challenges impeccably and responding to them with immense courage”.