NEW DELHI: India celebrated its 73rd Independence Day on Thursday, August 15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the celebrations from the Red Fort in the national capital and delivered his maiden Independence Day address during the second term of his government.
In his 92 minute-speech, the Prime Minister touched upon a wide range of subjects of national interest including abrogation of Article 370, triple talaq, investments in infrastructure and Jal Jeevan Mission, one nation-one election and many others. In a major step, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced the creation of a new post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for better synergy between Army, Air Force, Navy.
Read the full text of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation (in English) on 73rd Independence Day- August 15, 2019:
My dear countrymen,
On this solemn day of Independence, many greetings to all countrymen.
Today is also the festival of Raksha Bandhan. This centuries-old tradition expresses the love of brother and sister. I extend my best wishes to all the countrymen and all the brothers and sisters on this auspicious festival of Raksha Bandhan. May this festival filled with affection fulfil the hopes, aspirations and dreams of all our brothers and sisters, and bring affection in their lives.
Today, while the country is celebrating the festival of independence, people in several parts of the country are facing difficulties due to floods and heavy rainfall. Many have lost their dear ones. I express my condolences to them. The State Governments, the Central Government and other organizations like NDRF are striving day and night to ease the hardships and bring the situation under control.
Today, when we are celebrating this auspicious day of Independence, I pay my respects to all those who gave up their lives, who spent their youth in prisons, who embraced the gallows, who instilled the spirit of non-violence through Satyagraha for the freedom of the country. The country gained independence under the leadership of Bapu. Similarly, in the years since independence, numerous people have contributed to the peace, prosperity and security of the country. Today, I also salute the people who have contributed to fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people, for the development, peace and prosperity of Independent India.
After the formation of the new government, I am humbled once again with the opportunity to interact with you. It has not even been 10 weeks since the formation of this new Government. But even in a short ten-week period, efforts have been made in all fields and in every direction, new dimensions have been added. People have entrusted us to serve them so that they can achieve their hopes, expectations and aspirations. We are dedicated to your service with complete devotion, without wasting even a single moment.
To revoke Article 370 and 35A within 10 weeks is a significant step towards fulfilling the dream of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
In just ten weeks, we made big-ticket decisions like bringing about a law against Triple Talaq to protect the rights of our Muslim women, making major amendments in laws to counter-terrorism and to make it more stringent and powerful; transfer of approximately 90,000 crores of rupees to the bank accounts of farmers who are beneficiaries of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.
Our brothers and sisters from the farming community, our small entrepreneurs could never believe that they will ever be able to avail of pension schemes and live a dignified life even after they attain 60 Years when they are physically weak and need some support. We have implemented a Pension Scheme to meet these needs.
The water crisis is a big concern these days. It is being predicted that an impending water crisis is staring us in the face. Anticipating such a situation, we have announced the formation of a new dedicated Ministry of Jal Shakti where the Centre and States will together develop schemes and policies to address issues of the water crisis.
Our country needs doctors in huge numbers along with robust health facilities. To fulfil this requirement we need new laws, upgraded infrastructure, new thinking and create new opportunities to motivate the youth to take up the medical profession. In view of this, we have formulated laws and taken important steps to bring transparency in Medical Education.
Nowadays we come across incidents of child rights violation all over the world and India will not leave her children vulnerable. A much warranted stringent law to protect child rights was needed and has been enacted.
Brothers and sisters, you gave me an opportunity to serve you all for five years from 2014-2019. We took cognizance of the struggles faced by the common man to avail the basic facilities. Over the past five years, our government has been striving to provide the facilities to meet the daily needs of the common man. Special efforts have been made to facilitate those living in villages, and those who are poor, marginalized, victimized, exploited, deprived and tribals. We are working relentlessly in this direction to bring the nation back on track towards development. But times change. While 2014-2019 was a period of fulfilling your basic needs, the years from 2019 and beyond will see your aspirations and dreams getting fulfilled.
What should 21st Century India look like? How fast should it move? How extensively, should it work, what heights should it strive for- we are taking steps one after the other by preparing a roadmap for the next five years, keeping all these things in mind. In 2014, It was a new beginning for me. Prior to the election in 2013-2014, I travelled across the country and tried to understand the feelings of our countrymen. But everyone had disappointment written on their face, everyone had apprehensions. People used to wonder if the country could change at all. Can the country change with the change of Government? A sense of hopelessness had percolated into the minds of the common man. This was the result of their experience over a long period- hopes did not last long, they sank into the depths of despair very fast. But when in 2019, after five years of hard work, with the only dedication to the common people, only my country in my heart, only my millions of countrymen in my heart - with this feeling we kept on moving, dedicated every moment for that. When we ran for the office again in 2019, I was surprised. The Mood of the country changed. Despair had changed into hope, dreams got linked to resolutions, the accomplishment was visible and the common man had only one determination that he can change his country. Yes, it was the feeling that We too can change our country and that we cannot stay behind.
This feeling of the 130 crore citizens, this echoing of emotions gives us new the strength, new faith.
We had started with the mantra Sabka Saath- Sabka Vikas, but within five years, the countrymen have painted the entire mood of the nation with the colour of Sabka Vishwas. The Trust and confidence that everyone reposed in us over the last five years will inspire us to serve the nation with more vigour.
I have seen in the recent elections and I had felt then that this is an election in which no politician was contesting, no political party was contesting, neither Modi was contesting nor were friends of Modi contesting the election. It was the people of India who were contesting the election, 130 Crore countrymen were contesting the election. They were contesting for their own dreams. The real nature of Democracy could be seen in this election.
My dear countrymen, the solution to the problems - along with the period of dreams, determination and accomplishment - we have to walk together now. It is evident that the sense of self-reliance develops when problems get solved. The solution to problems encourages speed of self-reliance. When self-reliance occurs, self-esteem develops automatically and self-esteem has very strong potential. The power of self-respect is greater than anything and when there is a solution, resolution, capability, self-respect, then nothing can come in the way of success and today the country, with the feeling of that self-respect.
And today, with that self-respect we are determined to move forward to touch new heights of success. When we are trying to solve problems we should not think in isolation. There will be difficulties. Half-hearted efforts made with the aim of earning applause will not help in fulfilling the dreams of the country. We have to strive to remove problems from their roots.
You would have seen how our Muslim daughters and sisters used to live in fear with the sword of Triple Talaq dangling over their heads. Even if they were not victims of Triple Talaq, they were constantly haunted by the fear that they could be subjected to it anytime. Many Islamic countries abolished this evil practice long time back. But for some reason we were hesitant to give our Muslim mothers and sisters their due rights. If, we can abolish Sati Pratha, if we can enact laws to end female foeticide, if we can raise our voice against child marriage, if we can take strong steps against dowry system in this country, then why can’t we raise our voice against Triple Talaq? We have taken this important decision in the spirit of India’s democracy and constitution, to respect the thinking of Baba Saheb Ambedkar so that our Muslim sisters get equal rights; so that new confidence is generated in them; so that they also become active participants in the India’s development journey. Such decisions are not for political gains. They guarantee a lasting protection to our mothers and sisters.
Similarly, I will give another example. What was the reason behind revocation of Article 370 and 35A? This is the hallmark of this government. We do not avoid problems, nor do we let them fester. There is no time to delay or neglect problems. The work that was not done in the last 70 years has been accomplished within 70 days after this new government came to power. The abrogation of Article 370 and 35A has been carried out in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha by two-thirds majority. This means that everyone wanted this decision, but perhaps they were waiting for somebody to initiate the same and carry it forward. I have come to accomplish the task assigned to me by my countrymen. I work selflessly.
We are moving forward with re-organization of Jammu and Kashmir. For 70 years every government made efforts to do something.
But the desired results were not achieved, and when desired results are not achieved, there is a need to think afresh and take new steps. It is our responsibility to see that the aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh get fulfilled. It is our collective responsibility to give new wings to their dreams. This responsibility has to be shouldered by all 130 crore of my countrymen. To meet this commitment we have made endeavours to remove whatever hurdles were there in the way.
The system that prevailed over the past seventy years had aggravated separatism and given birth to terrorism. It had encouraged dynastic rule and in a way strengthened the foundations of corruption and discrimination. We have to make efforts so that the women of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh get their rights. We have to make efforts so that my dalit brothers and sisters living there, get the rights which they have been deprived of so far. The rights enjoyed by the tribal people of India must also be available to my tribal brothers and sisters of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. There are several such communities, like Gujjars, Bakarwals, Gaddis, Sippies or Balties- all such communities must be empowered with political rights. It is surprising that in Jammu & Kashmir there were legal restrictions on Safai Karamchari brothers and sisters. Their dreams were trampled upon. Now, we have freed them from such shackles.
When India was partitioned, crores of people had to leave behind their ancestral homes for no fault of theirs. Those who settled down in Jammu & Kashmir got neither human rights, nor citizenship rights. There are people from hill regions living in Jammu &Kashmir. We intend to take steps for their welfare as well.
My dear countrymen, peace and prosperity of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh can be an inspiration for India. They can greatly contribute to India’s development. We need to make efforts to bring back their glorious past. The new system that has come into being after the recent step will create facilities that will directly benefit the people of the State. Now, anybody in Jammu and Kashmir, like the rest of Indians, can reach out to the Government in Delhi. There will be no hurdles in between. We have put in place such a system. Our recent action to strike down Article 370 and 35 A has been welcomed by the entire country and also by people from all political parties of the country, without exception. Some have openly supported us while others give their tacit support. But some in the corridors of power, in a bid to take mileage from vote-bank politics, have been talking in favour of Article 370. The country demands an answer from those speaking in favour of Article 370, that if Article 370 and 35-A were so important.
If Article 370 was so crucial then why did ruling parties not make it permanent in the last 70 years despite having a majority? Why was it kept temporary? If there was so much of conviction, you should have moved ahead and made it permanent. This means that you knew all along that the decision taken was not right. But you did not have the courage and the will to amend it. Concerns about political future kept coming up. For me, the country’s future is everything, political future has no meaning.
Our constitution makers and great personalities like Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel took these bold and important decisions even during those difficult times, keeping the goals of national integration and political unification in mind. The exercise towards national integration was a successful one, but some difficulties have been faced because of Article 370 and 35A.
Today, as I address the nation from the Red Fort, I can proudly say that every Indian today can speak of One Nation, One Constitution and we are trying to fulfil Sardar Sahibs dream of Ék Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. So we must develop such systems which strengthen the country’s unity and serve as a cementing force, and this process must go on continuously. It should not be merely an interim measure but a continuous process.
Through GST we have fulfilled the dream of One Nation One Tax. Similarly, we successfully achieved the dream of One Nation, One Grid in the energy sector recently.
Likewise, we have developed the system of One Nation, One Mobility card and currently there is a nationwide debate about holding simultaneous elections in the country. This discussion should be taken up in a democratic manner. We will have to add many such new ideas to realize our dreams of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat.
My dear countrymen, the country has to achieve newer heights, the country has to make its mark globally. For this we have to change the attitude towards poverty alleviation in the country. It should not be treated as a favour, but as oura dutiful contribution towards building a bright future for the country because we have to free ourselves from the clutches of poverty at any cost. A number of successful efforts have been made during the last 5 years to reduce poverty. We have achieved more success than before and at a faster pace. A little respect and support to the poor can boost their self-esteem and pull them out from the grips of poverty without any government help.
He will be able to defeat poverty with his own strength. It is my poor brethren who have the might to fight against any adversity. He fights against extreme cold with his clenched fists. We need to bow before his innate strength to face adversities and help in eliminating the challenges of his daily life.
Why should poor people not have toilets, no electricity in the house, no house to live in, no water supply and no bank account. Why should they be compelled to go to the moneylender to take loans through mortgage? Come, let us make efforts to boost the self-respect, self-confidence and self-esteem of the poor.
Brothers and sisters, it is over 70 years since Independence. All governments have done a lot of work in their own way. Every government, irrespective of the party, be it the central or the state, has tried in its own way. But still it is a fact that today almost half of the houses in India do not have drinking water. People have to struggle to get drinking water. Mothers and sisters have to travel 2, 3, 5 km carrying the load of water on their heads. A large part of their lives is spent in struggling for water. Therefore, this government has decided to emphasize upon a special task and that is - how to ensure availability of water in every house. How does every house get water, pure drinking water? And so I declare from the Red Fort today that in the days to come, we will take forward the 'Jal-Jeevan' Mission. The central and the state governments will jointly work on this 'Jal-Jeevan' Mission. We have promised to spend more than Rs. 3.5 lakh crores on this mission in the coming years. Work should be done on water conservation, irrigation, rain-water harvesting, seawater or waste water treatment, and 'Per Drop, More Crop Micro Irrigation for the farmers. Water conservation campaigns should be launched, creating awareness in the common citizens about water, arousing their sensitivity so that they understand the importance of water; even the children should be taught about water conservation as part of their curriculum in their childhood. We must move forward with the belief that in the next five years we have to do more than four times the work that has been done in the last 70 years for water conservation and to revive the sources of water. We cannot wait any longer. The great Saint Thiruvalluvar ji had professed hundreds of years ago when perhaps no one would have thought of the water crisis and the importance of water.
And then Saint Thiruvalluvar ji had said NeerIndri Amiyadhu Ulganein नीरिंडरी अमियदु उलगनें meaning that if water starts disappearing, then nature’s processes get disrupted and eventually come to an end. This initiates the process of total destruction.
I was born in Gujarat. In North Gujarat, there is a jain pilgrim city called Mahudi. Approximately 100 years ago there lived a Jain saint who was born in a farmer’s family. He used to work in the fields but under the influence of Jainism. He became a Jain saint called Budhi Sagar ji Maharaj. He left behind some scriptures 100 years ago in which he shared a premonition that there will be a time when water will be sold in grocery shops. Can you imagine that the words of the saint written hundred years ago have actually become a reality now. What was predicted a century ago is now a ground reality, and today, we all are actually buying water from grocery shops.
Dear countrymen, we are not to get tired in our efforts, nor shall we halt or hesitate in moving ahead.
This campaign on Water conservation should not just remain a government initiative. It should become a people’s movement like our Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan. We have to carry forward this movement with the help the common man’s ideals, aspirations and efforts.
Dear Countrymen, our nation has reached a phase when we should be transparent about everything.
Time has now come that we should take challenges head-on. Sometimes decisions are taken keeping in mind political advantage but they come at the cost of growth of future generation of our country. I would like to highlight the issue of population explosion in one Country from the aegis of the Red Fort today.
This rapidly increasing population poses various new challenges for us and our future generations.
In our society, there is a section which is very well aware of the consequences of the uncontrolled population growth. They all deserve accolades and respect. This is also their expression for their love for the nation. Before having a baby, they take a well considered decision whether they will be able to take care of the child’s needs and fulfill his/her dreams by playing the role of a responsible parent.
Keeping these parameters in mind, this small sections of responsible citizens is self motivated to keep their family small. Not only do they contribute to the welfare of their family but also to the good of the nation.
They express patriotism. I would like all the people of our society to watch their lives closely and see how much they have served their families by limiting increase in family size. It is about how the family has moved forward in just a generation or two, how the children have got education, how the family is free from disease, how well the family fulfils their primary needs.
We should learn from them. Before a child arrives into our family we should think - have I prepared myself to fulfil the needs of the child ? Or will I leave it dependent on the society? Will I leave the child un-nurtured? No parents can continue to give birth to children who are forced to live this type of life and therefore a social awareness is needed.
The people who have played this huge role need to be honoured, and by setting them as examples we need to inspire the segment of the society who are still not thinking on these lines. We need to worry about population explosion.
Governments also have to come forward through different schemes. Be it the State Government or the Central Government - everyone has to walk together to shoulder this responsibility. We cannot think of an unhealthy society, we cannot think of an uneducated society. In 21st century India, the ability to fulfill dreams starts with a person, starts with a family. If the population is not educated, not healthy, then neither the home nor the country can be happy. If the population is educated, empowered, and skilled and has adequate means available to achieve the right ambience to fulfill their wishes and needs, then I think the country can fulfill these things.
My dear countrymen, you are well aware that corruption and nepotism have damaged our country beyond imagination and entered into our lives like termites. We are continuously trying to weed them out. There have been successes also, but the disease is so deeply entrenched, the disease is so wide spread that we will have to keep putting in more efforts and that too at every level, not just at the government level, and we need to keep doing it continuously.
All work cannot be done at one go, bad habits are like chronic disease. Sometimes it gets cured, but sometimes it relapses. This too is a disease for which we have taken many steps, eliminating it by continuous use of technology. Every effort has been made to strengthen honesty and transparency at all levels.
You must have seen that immediately after formation of the Government, and also in the last five years the Government has removed many top officials. All such people creating obstacles were told that the country does not need their services anymore and they have been removed.
I believe that there should be change in the system, but at the same time there should be a change in the social fabric. Along with the change in the social fabric, a change in the mindset and beliefs of the people running the systems is also very essential. Then only the desired results can be achieved.
Brothers and sisters, the country has, in a way, matured after so many years of independence.
We are going to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Independence. This Freedom is as precious to us as our ethical values, attitudes and sensitivities. Whenever I hold meetings with officials I’d always mention, I do not talk about it publicly but today I feel like speaking out, I repeatedly exhort the officials that after so many years of Independence can we not do something about cutting down red tape and reduce the involvement of the Government in the daily life of the common man.
The meaning of an Independent India for me is to create an ecosystem that gradually reduces the involvement of govt. in the lives of its peoples. This will give people the choice to decide about their own destiny and embark upon whichever direction they wish in the national interest, for betterment of their families and in the pursuit of their dreams.
Citizens should not feel pressure of the government but at the same time during a crisis the government must not be found wanting. The government should neither be exerting nor wanting, but let us all move forward with our dreams. The government should be always standing by us, as a companion. In case the need arises, the people should be assured that Govt. is always there to back them up. Can we create such a system?
We have done away with several unnecessary laws and rules which had been rendered redundant. In the last five years I have abolished, practically, one redundant law every day. Perhaps the common man is not aware of it, - abolishing one obsolete law each day means almost 1,450 laws have been done away with an aim to reduce the burden from the common man’s life. The (new) government has only completed ten weeks into office, and already (another) 60 laws have been repealed with an aim to bring about ‘Ease of Living’. ‘Ease of Living’ is imperative for an Independent India and we are committed to focus on ‘Ease of Living’ and want to take it ahead.
Today, we have made much progress towards ‘Ease of doing business.’ We aim to reach the Top Five in the global ranking and for this there will be a need for several reforms; anybody wanting to set up a small business or industry, faces several small and big issues, - such as filling up several forms, going from pillar to post, he has to make visits to scores of offices, but he still doesn’t get the requisite sanction. In attempts to unshackle this intricate web, bringing reforms after reform, taking the Centre and States together, taking along the city and metropolitan municipalities, we have been able to achieve a fair degree of success towards ‘Ease of doing business.’
Across the globe there is a growing realization that such a large country as India, a developing nation, can dream big and make such a big leap. ‘Ease of doing business’ seems just a milestone; my ultimate objective is to achieve is ‘Ease of living’, - where a common man does not have to exercise himself to get Govt./Officials clearances, he gets his due rights easily and thus there is a need for us to proceed in that direction.
My dear countrymen, our nation must march forward, but the country cannot now wait much longer for incremental progress, we will have to take a big leap, we will have to change our thinking. To make India reach the Global Standards we need to build modern infrastructure.
Notwithstanding despondent attitudes, ordinary people always dream of a good system. They like good things; they have developed a taste for it. So we have decided to invest 100 lakh crore rupees for modern infrastructure in this time period. This will generate employment; will develop new systems and various aspirations will be met. Be it Sagarmala Project or Bharat Mala Project, modern railway stations, bus stations or airports, be it modern hospitals or world class educational institutions, we want to develop the entire infrastructure. Now the country also requires seaports. The ordinary people have changed and we have to understand that.
Earlier, if a decision was taken on paper that a railway station was going to be constructed in a particular area, there used to be a positive feeling for years together that a new railway station would be available somewhere nearby. Times have changed now. The ordinary citizens are no longer satisfied with just a railway station. They will immediately ask, “When will Vande Bharat Express come to our area?” Their thinking has changed. If we construct a very good bus station or five star Railway station, the people will not say “well done”. They will forthwith ask, “When will the airport be ready”? That means their thinking has changed. The people who were happy with just getting a railway stoppage are now asking, “It is ok, but when is the airport going to open here?”
Earlier people used to ask, “When will a metaled road be constructed in our area?” Now people ask, “Will the road be of 4-lane or 6-lane one?” They are not satisfied to metaled roads any longer. I think this is a very significant change for aspiring India.
Earlier, even on seeing the electricity poles lying on the ground people used to be happy, thinking that the electricity had reached them even if the pole had not been erected. But now even after the installation of transmission wires and electric meters, people ask “When will we get 24-hour electric supply?” They are no longer happy with just poles and wires.
Earlier, when mobile phones were just in vogue, people were content that mobile phone had finally arrived. But now they discuss about data speed. We have to understand this transformation of psychology and changing times. We have to move forward in many fields, with the Global Benchmark like modern infrastructure, clean energy, gas based economy, gas grid, e-mobility etc.
My dear Countrymen, generally the governments of our country are identified with what they have done in a particular area or for a particular community or group. Generally, the government and the people went by the yardstick as to how much a government has given or to whom it has been given. This was considered as good enough. May be it was the need of the hour and a compulsion.
But despite whatever, however, whenever or whoever may have received in the past, we now need to unitedly think about what dreams we want to achieve as a nation. Time demands that we live fight and move ahead in unison to fulfil these dreams. Keeping this in mind we have set a dream target of building a five trillion dollar economy. 130 crore countrymen can move together even with small contributions. The target of 5 trillion dollar economy may appear difficult to some people. They may not be wrong but if we don’t accomplish difficult tasks, how will the country moved ahead? If we don’t take up difficult challenges how will we develop a mind set to move forward? Psychologically also we must always aim high and that is what we have done. This is not just in the air. We had reached a 2 trillion dollar economy after 70 years of independence, after 70 years’ journey on the path of development we could achieve just a 2 trillion dollar economy. But within five years from 2014 to 2019 we reached a 3 trillion dollar economy i.e we added one trillion dollars. If we succeeded in taking such a big jump in just 5 years, then we can become a 5 trillion dollar economy in the next five years. This must be a dream of every Indian.
When the economy grows, it brings better standard of living for the people. Opportunities get created to fulfil the dreams of even of those at bottom. In order to create these opportunities we have to develop this mind set about the economic sector of the country.
When we dream to double the income of our farmers, when we dream that after 75 years of independence each family, including the poorest of the poor, should own a house, when we dream that on completing 75 years of independence each family must get electricity in their house, when we dream that on completing 75 years of independence each village of India must have optical fibre network, broad band connectivity and long distance education, these should no longer be seem to be dreams.
We must focus upon developing our maritime resources and blue economy. We should empower our fishermen community. Our farmers, who provide us food, may become energy givers. Why should they not become exporters as well, why should the produce of our farmers not dominate the international market? We want to move ahead with these dreams. Our country will have to boost its export. Let us make every effort to reach the global market.
Each district of our country has a potential equal to that of one country, each of our districts has the capacity equal to a small country in the world. We need to understand this power and channelize this potential. And why should each district not think of becoming an export hub? Each district has its own handicraft and each district has its unique specialities. If some district is known for its perfumes then some other district may have saris as its distinct identity whereas some other district is known for utensils and the other district is famous for its sweets. Each of our districts has a diverse identity and potential for global market.
We are trying to see how can we use zero defect zero effect in manufacturing for global markets. If we focus on exports by making the world aware of this diversity, and work towards capturing the world market, then the youth of the country will get employment. This will give great strength to our small scale and micro level industries. We have to increase that strength.
Our country can be a fascinating tourist destination for the world, but for some reason, we have not been able to do it as fast as we need to. Come, let all of us, the countrymen, take the decision to boost tourism in the country. As tourism grows, capital investment provides more employment opportunities. The country's economy also gets a boost. People all over the world are ready to see India in a new way today. Let us think how we can attract tourists to our country from the world over, how we can strengthen the tourism sector and what arrangements should be made at tourist destinations. We should also talk about increasing the income of ordinary citizens, better education for them, new employment opportunities. There should be launching pads for the middle class people so that they can realize their dreams. Our scientists should have the best facilities and resources, our forces should have the best weapons and equipment that too indigenously made. I believe that there are many areas which can give India a new strength to become a five trillion dollar economy.
My dear brothers and sisters, today the country has a very favourable environment for achieving economic success. When there is a stable government, the policies are predictable and systems are stable, then the world also starts having confidence in you. The people of the country have shown this. The world is also watching India's political stability with great pride and respect. We should not let this opportunity go. Today the world is keen to do business with us. It wants to connect with us. Today, it is a matter of great pride for us that while controlling inflation, we are moving forward with an important equation to increase the growth rate. Sometimes the growth rate may increase, but inflation is not under control. Sometimes when the inflation is under control, the growth rate gets affected. But our government has not only controlled inflation but has also increased the growth rate.
The fundamentals of our economy are very strong. And this strength gives us confidence to move ahead. In the same way, by developing a system like GST, and bringing reforms like Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, we want to develop an environment of confidence. There should be increased production in our country, increased processing of our natural wealth, value addition, export of the value added products to the world. Why can’t we have a dream wherein every country in the world imports some or the other Indian product, wherein every district of India exports some product? If we take these two things into consideration, then we can also increase the income. Our companies and entrepreneurs also dream of getting access to the world market. By getting access to the world market, our investors will be able to enhance the status of India; our investors will be able to earn more; our investors will be able to invest more; our investors will be able to generate more employment. We are completely ready to encourage our investors to come forward for generating employment.
In our country, certain wrong beliefs have come into existence. We have to come out of those mindset. Those who create wealth for the country, those who contribute in the nation’s wealth creation are all serving the country. We should not doubt our wealth creators.
The need of the hour is to recognise and encourage the wealth creators of our nation. They should receive more honour. If wealth is not created, wealth cannot be distributed. Further, if wealth is not distributed we cannot uplift the poor sector of our society. Such is the importance of wealth creation for our country which we need to facilitate further.
Those who are making efforts to create wealth, according to me they themselves are an asset to the nation and must be empowered.
My dear Countrymen, today we are emphasising on peace and security along with development. Globally, countries are gripped with several insecurities. Death seems hovering in some or the other part of the world.
India has to play a vital role in reinstating world peace. We cannot remain silent spectators in the global environment. We are putting up a tough fight against terrorist organisations. In any part of the world, an act of terrorism should be regarded as an attack on humanity. Therefore, I urge all forces to unite against those who promote and give shelter to terrorist outfits. India should contribute in exposing these anti-humanitarian activities and is resolute to unite all world forces to end terrorism.
We want that India should play a crucial role in the war against terrorism. India should unite all forces to expose those who give shelter to terrorists, those who encourage terrorism and those who export terrorism.
Some terrorist organisations have not only targeted India, but are also damaging our neighbouring countries. Bangladesh and Afghanistan are also grappling with terrorist activities. In Sri Lanka, sadly, innocent people have been killed en-masse inside a church. This is such a heart wrenching event. Hence, we all have to unite and act proactively to bring security, peace and harmony in this sub-continent.
Our friendly neighbour Afghanistan is also going to celebrate its 100th year of independence, four days from now. I would like to extend my heartiest greetings to them on this auspicious occasion.
It is our clear policy that those who are spreading fear and fostering violence must be razed to the ground. We have made this clear through our policies and strategies to curb all such malafide intentions. We have no inhibitions. Our army, border security forces and security agencies have done a commendable job. They always stand tall in their uniforms and guard us from all adversities. They have martyred their lives to ensure a bright future for us. I salute and I pay my homage to them. It is important that we take timely steps towards reforms.
You must have noticed that deliberations are on since a long time to bring reforms in military infrastructure, armed forces and military resources. Previous governments have also discussed the same. Several commissions have been formed and all the reports have brought to light the same issues.
There is hardly any difference, but this has been stated repeatedly. There indeed is coordination between our Navy, Army and Air Force. We can be proud of the arrangement of our armed forces. Any Hindustani can be proud of Indian Military. They also strive for modernity in their own way.
But the world is changing today, the scope of war is changing, the nature of war is changing. It is becoming technology driven; in the circumstances India too should not have a fragmented approach. Our entire military power will have to work in unison and move forward. Things cannot move smoothly if anyone from the Navy, Army and Air Force is a step ahead from the other two forces, while the other two are lagging behind. All the three should move simultaneously at the same pace. There should be good coordination and it should be relevant with the hope and aspirations of our people. It should be in line with the changing war and security environment in the world and today I want to announce an important decision from Red Fort. The subject experts on the issue have been demanding this for a long time. Today we have decided that we will now have a Chief of Defence Staff- CDS and after formation of this post all the three forces will get effective leadership at the top level. The CDS System is a very important and compelling task in our dream to reform the strategic pace of Hindustan in the world.
My dear countrymen, we are lucky that we are born in such a period, we are living in such a period, when we have the ability to do something. Sometimes it comes to my mind that when we were fighting for freedom, great men like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru were competing for their sacrifice. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, freedom fighters were going door-to-door, to awaken the country to realize their dreams of independence. We were not born at that time. We did not get a chance to sacrifice for the country, but we have definitely got a chance to live for the country now. And it is a privilege that this period is like this, this year is very important for us. This is the festival of 150th birth anniversary of Bapu Mahatma Gandhi.
We feel blessed to have such opportunity. 75 years of our Independence and the remembrance of those who sacrificed for the country, inspires us to do something. We should capitalise on this opportunity. We, 130 crore of countrymen, have to move further, to achieve the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, the dreams of freedom fighters of the country. We should make the 75 years of independence and 150 years of Gandhi into a festival. This is a great opportunity for our inspiration.
I had spoken about Swachhata in 2014 from this Red Fort. I am confident that within next few weeks of 2019 itself India will declare itself Open Defecation Free. States, Villages, Municipalities, Media, everyone has started Mass-Movement regarding ODF. The government was nowhere to be seen, people participated in the mass movement and the results are quite evident.
My dear countrymen, I would like to put forward a small request to you. On this 2 October can we make India free from single- use plastic? Let us move around, form teams and move out from home, school, college.
Remembering revered Bapu, we should move out of home collecting single-use plastic from homes, streets, chowks, and drains. Municipalities, Municipal corporations, Gram Panchayat should make arrangements to collect single-use plastic. Can we take first big step on 2nd October, towards making India free from single-use plastic?
Come my countrymen, let us take this forward.
I will request start-up organizations, technicians and entrepreneurs to see what we can do to recycle this plastic? Plastic is being used in making highways. Many such remedies can be there. But to get rid of such problems we have to initiate mass movement but at the same time we have to think of the alternate systems. I will request all shopkeepers along with many sign boards in your shop please also put another one exhorting customers not to use plastic bags; that they should instead bring their own cloth bags or buy cloth bags for carrying their goods. Let us create an environment. We generally give gifts to people on Diwali. Why not pack those gifts in cloth bags this year and every time? If people go to market with cloth bags, that will be an advertisement for your company too. If you give a diary or calendar nothing will happen. But if you give a bag, that will be a medium of your advertisement. It should be a jute bag. It will help farmers. The cloth bag will help famers. These are all small things. It will help poor widows who are into sewing. Our small steps can change the lives of ordinary people and we have to work towards that.
My dear countrymen, whether it is a five trillion economy dream or the dream of a self-reliant India, we are following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals are relevant even today. So we have to take forward our ‘Make in India’ mission. Shouldn’t made in India products be our priority? Let us decide whatever is produced and available in our country should be our priority. We have to give stress on local products for lucky tomorrow; we have to go for local for bright future. Whatever is produced in the village should be given priority. If it is not available in the village we have to go beyond that- to Tehsil, to the district and then to the state level. I don’t think that one has to go outside the state to meet one’s requirements. Our rural economy will get a boost; our small entrepreneurs will get a boost; our traditional things will get a fillip.
Brothers and sisters we like mobile phones, we like to send whatsapp messages, we like to be on Facebook-twitter. But we can help country’s economy through these means. Technology is useful for the people who know its usefulness. Technology is helpful for the development of a modern India. Why shouldn’t we move towards Digital payment? Today we are proud that our RuPay card is accepted in Singapore. In the near future RuPay card will be accepted in more countries. Our digital platform is spreading steadily. Shouldn’t we stress on digital payment in villages, small shops and small shopping malls? For the sake of honesty, transparency and to make our country’s economy strong let us move towards digital payment. If you go to villages you will generally see boards put up by traders saying “only cash, no credit please”. I will urge the businessmen to display another board: “say yes to digital payment and no to cash”. We should create an atmosphere like this. I will urge the banking sector and the people from the business world to give emphasis on these things.
In our country the bulk of middle class and higher middle class are increasing. This is a good thing. People go to various countries as a tourist with their family once or twice in a year. It is good that our children get exposure. But today I want to urge all such families to think over whether they will want their children to know their country as well, when it celebrates the 75th Year of its Independence, which could be achieved after many great men and women had sacrificed their lives? Are there any parents who do not want their children to be emotionally connected with the country’s soil, its history, its air and water? Do they not want their children to gather new energy from all these? We have to move ahead in right earnest. No matter how advanced we become, if we get cut off from our roots, we can never survive. Today from the ramparts of Red Fort, I am asking you one thing. This is to generate employment of the youth, to build an image of India in the world and to tell the world what India is capable of. It is time you decide that before 2022, when India will be celebrating the 75th Year of its Independence, we take our families to at least 15 tourist destinations in the country. We may face some difficulties in those places but still, you should go. There may not be good hotels. But, sometimes such difficulties also bring opportunities along. Our children will learn what their country is, when they visit such tourist destinations. The people who can build facilities will also reach there and that will generate employment. Why don’t we develop 100 good tourist destinations, why shouldn’t there be target of developing 2, 5 or 7 top class tourist destinations in every state? North-East of India has huge natural resources but how many universities make that part of the country as their tourist destination? You do not have to spend much, neither do have you need to spend a lot of time; in 7 to 10 days you can visit within the country.
A new world will come into being in the places you visit. You will get bliss in the life once we Indians visit the tourist spots of North-East, foreigners will also follow suit. But, think over when we go out of the country and the people there ask, whether you have seen that temple in Tamil Nadu and we say ‘’No’’; then how does it feel. They would be surprised and say that they being foreigners, have visited that temple but you being an Indian have not seen it so far. So, before we go abroad we must know our country well.
Now, I want to ask something from my farmer brothers. For farmers, for my countrymen this country is their motherland. As we chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai” our hearts are filled with new energy.
The word “Vande Mataram’’ enthuses our hearts with a wish to sacrifice for the country. A long history beckons us. But have we ever cared to think about our motherland’s health? The way we are using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it is damaging the health of its soil. As a farmer, as a child of this soil, I have no right to damage its health. I have no right to make my mother India sad nor do have I right to make her sick.
We would soon complete 75 years since our Independence.
Revered Bapu showed us the way. Should we not cut down the use of chemical fertilizer in our fields by 10% or 20% or 25% and if possible should we not launch a Muktikar Abhiyan (campaign)?. This would be a great service to the nation. This would be a great step in saving our Mother Earth. Your endeavour in saving our mother earth will also get blessings of those who dedicated their lives chanting Vande Mataram in order to fulfil the dream of achieving freedom for our motherland. Therefore I appeal to you as I am fully confident that my countrymen will definitely be able to achieve this. My farmers will fulfil this request of mine because I have full trust in them.
My dear brothers and sisters, professionals of our country are at a commanding position globally. Their potential is very well recognised. People respect them. Be it space, be it technology, we have achieved new heights. It’s a matter of happiness of us that our Chandrayaan is moving speedily towards that part of the moon where no one has ever reached. Such is the mastery of our scientists.
Similarly, our presence was much less in the field of sports. Today young sons and daughters of my country in the age group of 18 to 22 are making India’s tricolor fly in various sports stadia. How proud that feels! Our sportspersons are earning laurels for the country.
Dear countrymen, we have to take our country forward. We have to transform our country. We have to make our country reach newer heights and we have to do this collectively. The government and the people have to achieve this collectively and jointly. Our 130 crore countrymen have to do this. Prime Minister of the country is also a child of this country like you and he also is a citizen of the country. We all have to work unitedly for this.
In the coming days about 1.5 lakh wellness centres and health centres will have to be set up in rural areas. Setting up one medical college for every three Lok Sabha constituencies will make us realize the dream of our youth becoming doctors. Houses for more than 2 crore poor people have to be built. We have to supply potable drinking water to 15 crore houses in rural areas, construct 1.25 km roads in rural areas. Each village has to be provided with Broad Band connectivity and connected with optical fibre network, also a network of more than 50000 new start-ups has to be raised. We need to move forward with so many dreams.
And, therefore, brothers and sisters, we the countrymen have to collectively take our country forward with these dreams in mind and for this 75 years of independence is a very big motivation.
130 crore countrymen have their dreams, their challenges. Each dream and each challenge has its own importance. It is not that some is more important and the other is less important. It may not be possible for me to delve at all the topics during this speech. So, whatever I could speak today and whatever I could not speak are equally important. If we move forward, we should keep in mind that we have to take our country forward.
75 years of Independence, 150 years of Gandhi and 70 years of India’s Constitution has been completed for realising the dream of Baba Saheb Ambedkar. We are also celebrating 550th Parv of Guru Nanak Dev ji this year. Let us move ahead following the teachings of Baba Saheb Ambedker and Guru Nanak Dev ji as we have to build a better society and a better country as per the expectations of the whole world.
My dear brothers and sisters, we know that our targets are as high as the Himalayas, our dreams are even more than the innumerable stars. But we also know that even skies cannot check the flight of our courage.
This is our resolve, our potential is beyond measure just like the Indian Ocean. Our efforts are holy like the flowing Ganges and are ever continuing. Above all these things our values draw inspiration from our ancient culture and the penance of our sages and saints. The sacrifice and hard work of our countrymen is our motivation.
Come on, let us move ahead to build a new India keeping these ideals and resolves in mind. Fulfilling our responsibilities with a new confidence and a new resolve to build a new India should be our mantra. Let us together take our country forward with this single expectation, I once again bow to everyone who lived, fought, died for the country.
Bharat Mata ki Jai.
Bharat Mata ki Jai.
Thank you very very much.