Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 15 August, addressed the nation on the occasion of India's 75th Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi, and said that the government wants to make small farmers the pride of the country.
PM Modi, in his address, went on to call for "100 percent" in terms of growth. He also lauded the country's vaccination programme and extended his appreciation for India's athletes who had participated in the Tokyo Olympics.
"The athletes who have made us proud at Tokyo Olympics are here amongst us today. I urge the nation to applaud their achievement today. They have not only won our hearts but also inspired future generations," PM Modi said.
"Be it Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, or Jawaharlal Nehru, we are thankful to our leaders who brought Independence," PM Modi said, as he conveyed his greetings. He added that it is a day to remember India's great freedom fighters.
PM Modi also spoke about the decision to observe 14 August as "Partition Horrors Remembrance Day" and said it was meant to honour the pain and sufferings faced by the people of India during the Partition.
PM Modi Lauds Doctors, Nurses, Other Workers During Pandemic
PM Modi appreciated doctors, nurses and other workers, as well as scientists developing vaccines who had been integral during the pandemic.
"During COVID, our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, sanitation workers, scientists who were developing vaccines and crores of citizens who were working with a sense of service - all those who devoted every moment to serve others in this period, deserve our appreciation," he added.
"Indians have fought this battle with a lot of patience. We had many challenges but we worked with extraordinary pace in every area. It is a result of the strength of our industrialists and scientists, that today India doesn't need to depend on any other nation for vaccines," PM Modi said.
PM Modi reiterated that India has the largest COVID-19 vaccination programme and stated that more than 54 crore people have received vaccine doses so far.
PM Modi Gives Call for 'Sabka Prayas' Along With 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'
PM Modi went on to say that a time comes in the development journey of every country when that nation defines itself from a new end, when it takes itself forward with new resolutions.
"The time has come for India's development journey. We have to make new thresholds, new dreams and new aspirations. We have to make the next 25 years glorious," he said.
"'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas' is very important for the achievement of all our goals," the prime minister stated.
He added that India has to ensure that the country meets its goal of building Aatmanirbhar Bharat when celebrating 100 years of India's Independence.
"Benefits of many schemes that started in the last seven years have reached the doorsteps of crores of poor. From Ujjwala to Ayushman Bharat, the poor of the nation knows the strength of the schemes. Today, government schemes have picked up pace and are reaching their goals," he said.
"It is essential to fully utilise the capabilities of India to take it to new heights, in the 21st century. For this, we have to hold hands of the section that is lagging behind, the area that is lagging behind," the prime minister went on to say.
India's Development Should Be Inclusive: PM Modi
PM Modi also spoke about India's development, saying that it should be inclusive.
"The Northeast region, the Himalayan region including Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, the coastal belt and tribal regions will make a foundation for India's development in the future," he stressed.
Speaking about efforts to develop Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said that the Delimitation Commission had been constituted and preparations are on for assembly elections in the future.
"On the one hand, Ladakh is witnessing the creation of modern infrastructure, while on the other hand, the Indus Central University will make Ladakh a centre of higher education," he added.
PM Modi also went on to say that hand-holding of deprived communities is necessary apart from providing basic facilities. Therefore, the country is working on reservation for Dalits, backwards, tribals and economically weak sections of the general category, he said.
"Recently reservation was granted to OBCs, under all-India quota, in medical education. States have been granted right to make their own OBC lists," he added.
Small Farmers Should be India's Pride: PM Modi
PM Modi spoke about India's farmers, saying that the government's focus is to make small farmers, who own less than 2 hectare land and are over 80 percent of all farmers, the pride of the country.
"Our mantra is 'Chhota kisan bane desh ki shaan'. It's our dream. In years to come, we have to further increase the collective strength of small farmers of the country. We will have to provide them new facilities," he said.
PM Modi said that in earlier policies that were made in the country, the focus was not on these small farmers. But, decisions are now being taken keeping these small farmers in mind, he said.
"'Kisan rail' runs on more than 70 rail routes of the country today," he added.
On India's Manufacturing & Infrastructure
Speaking about India's progress in terms of infrastructure, PM Modi said that the country has resolved that 75 Vande Bharat trains will be connecting every corner of the country in 75 weeks.
"Today the speed at which new airports are being built in the country, the UDAN scheme connecting far-flung areas is also unprecedented," he said.
Moving forward on the path of development, India will have to increase both its manufacturing and exports, the prime minister stated.
"Today India is making its own fighter aircraft, making submarines, also making Gaganyaan," PM Modi said.
Addressing manufacturers, PM Modi said that they must understand that India's identity, prestige and the trust of many people of India is attached with any product that they make and send out.
"We have seen thousands of new start-ups which were formed in the COVID era, now working successfully. Tomorrow's start-ups are becoming today's unicorns. Their market value is reaching thousands of crores," PM Modi said.
"Political will is required to bring in big changes, big reforms. Today, the world can see that there is no dearth of political will in India. Good and smart governance is needed to bring reforms. The world is a witness to how India is writing a new chapter of governance," he added.
"Today, we have to pledge to make India energy independent before completing 100 years of independence. India has moved towards electric mobility and work is underway on 100% electrification of Indian Railways with the aim to becoming net-zero carbon emitter by the year 2030," the prime minister stated.
Daughters of India Eager to Take Their Space: PM Modi
PM Modi also said that it is a matter of pride that India's daughters are giving a splendid performance, be it Boards exams or Olympics.
"Today the daughters of India are eager to take their space," he said.
Meanwhile, speaking about India's New Education Policy, PM Modi said that the new National Education Policy is a means to fight against poverty.
"There is another special feature of the new National Education Policy. In this, sports have been made a part of mainstream education instead of extracurricular. Sports are also one of the most effective means of moving forward in life," he added.
'Yahi Samay Hai, Sahi Samay Hai': PM Modi Ends His Address With a Poem
PM Modi concluded his address with a poem that carried the following lines, among others:
"Yahi samay hai, sahi samay hai, Bharat ka anmol samay hai (The time is right, the time is now, it is a priceless time for India)."
Prior to his speech, PM Modi hoisted the National Flag from the ramparts of Red Fort to celebrate the occasion.
This is the eighth Independence Day speech that PM Modi is delivering.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations are to be restricted.
An advisory regarding COVID-19 guidelines has been issued to all the diplomats, officials, members of the public and the media, who will be attending the ceremony.
To commemorate 75 years of India's Independence, an initiative called 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 March. He also flagged off a 'Dandi March' from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.
Teams of the Indian Army will scale 75 mountain passes, including Saserla Pass in the Ladakh region, Stakpochan Pass in the Kargil region, Satopanth, Harshil in Uttarakhand, Phim Karnla in Sikkim and Point 4493 in Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh, to mark the occasion.
PM Announces Partition Horrors Remembrance Day, President Kovind Delivers Address to the Nation
The prime minister had on Saturday announced that 14 August would henceforth be commemorated as 'Partition Horrors Remembrance Day' in memory of people’s struggles and sacrifices during that period.
"Partition’s pains can never be forgotten," the PM said when announcing the move. "Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence."
Modi had then added, "May the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment."
One day before the PM's speech, President Ram Nath Kovind delivered the President's customary address to the nation on Saturday, 14 August.
During his speech, he paid "homage to the "many generations of known and unknown freedom fighters", who laid down their lives for India's Independence.
The President also praised Indian athletes for their stellar performance in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics.
"From the field of science to sports, our daughters are creating history everywhere. India's daughters did well in Tokyo Olympics... appreciate their resilience," President Kovind said.
He also hosted the Indian contingent from the Tokyo Olympics over 'high tea’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre in New Delhi on Saturday.