Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag and delivered his seventh consecutive Independence Day speech from the iconic Red Fort on Saturday.
The PM also received the Guard of Honour contingent, consisting of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police. Major Shweta Pandey assisted the PM in unfurling the National Flag, following which PM Modi addressed the nation.
Here are the updates from his speech, as reported by Nistula Hebbar from New Delhi:
Coronavirus may be a big challenge but not so big as to stop India’s march towards self-reliance: PM Modi
Ten days ago, the construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya began, says PM Modi.
He continues: The calm displayed by our people at this time has been unprecedented. This calm and harmony is the guarantee of our development. This journey calls for sacrifice. Being ordinary will not do. We have to be the best.
Therefore we must aim at best products, in terms of both human resources and governance. Only then can we achieve our dream of “Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat”.
We have to resolve to do this for 130 million Indians, our future generations, and for aatmanirbhar Bharat. We will try and reduce imports, go vocal for local, empower our young, women, adivasis, Dalits, and divyaang. 2022, the 75th year of our independence, is upon us. Coronavirus crisis is a big crisis, but is not big enough to stop us in building aatmanirbhar Bharat. Once again, best wishes to all of you on our Independence Day.
The Prime Minister winds up his speech with chants of Bharat Mata ki jai, Vande Mataram, Jai Hind!
We are expanding NCC in border areas; special training will be provided to about one lakh new NCC cadets: PM Modi
We value our security as much as harmony, says PM Modi in his Independence Day speech.
He continues: We also connect it to aatmanirbhar India, and has therefore created a negative list of over 100 defence products for import. We have a long coastline and more than 1,300 islands, and we are prioritising the development of certain islands. We have launched optical fibre connectivity in Andaman & Nicobar islands. In the next 1,000 days, we have decided to connect Lakshadweep too in this manner.
As many as 173 districts are either on the coast or share a border with another country. We will prepare nearly 1 lakh National Cadet Corp youth in these areas, half of whom will be our daughters. The Indian Army and Navy will be involved in their training.
Those who challenge India’s sovereignty, be it LOC or LAC, have been given a befitting reply in their own language: PM Modi
Referring to the Ladakh face-off, PM Modi says:
Attempts have been made to undermine our territorial integrity from LAC to the LoC, says PM Modi. Whenever that happened, our jawans have replied in the language of the enemy. The whole country is inspired and resolute. What the country and our jawans can do has been seen in Ladakh by the world. I bow to all those jawans from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
[PM Modi pauses for applause.]
India has been resolutely sealing with terrorism. The world acknowledges that. 184 of 192 countries voted for India to be part of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Today, neighbours are not only those with whom we share our geographical boundaries but also those with whom our hearts meet: PM
India values our partnership with our neighbours with whom we are connected via land and sea. We are committed to deepening our relationships. South Asia has a quarter of the world’s population, and is a repository of possibilities. I call on all intellectuals and people of South Asia to work together for the prosperity of the region.
Today, neighbours are not just those with whom our borders meet but also with those with whom we connect with our hearts. We have worked on the idea of an extended neighbourhood. With West Asia for example, we have increased cooperation especially in the field of energy security. Many of our brothers and sisters live and work in such countries, and the way these countries took care of our people during the coronavirus pandemic is deserving of thanks from us. The ASEAN countries too have much in common in terms of culture and Buddhist practices.
A special campaign is being worked out to reduce pollution in 100 cities of country: PM Modi
India has spearheaded the advocacy of solar energy, and is in top five countries in the field of renewable energy, says PM Modi.
He continues: In chosen 100 cities in the country, we will be launching a programme for reducing pollution. India is one of the few countries where forest cover has increased.
We have been successful in taking forward a holistic approach, and to this end, we will be launching 'Project Lion' soon for the protection of asiatic lion species. We will also launching 'Project Dolphin' for protecting ocean and Gangetic dolphins.
It was a year of a new development journey for Jammu and Kashmir: PM Modi
A year has gone by after Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were freed from Article 370, says PM Modi.
He continues: Women, partition refugees, and depressed classes were given dignity and rights. Democracy’s true strength is in local self government, and hence it is a matter of pride that the local governmetn representatives in J&K are involved in its development. The delimitation process is to be concluded soon and once that is done, we expect elections and elected representatives to join the developmental journey.
Ladakh’s demand for Union Territory status was also conceded and it too is looking forward to its own developmental journey. Ladakh is a special place and this has to be preserved. Like Sikkim has carved out an identity as an organic State, Ladakh too can be a “carbon neutral” State.
PM Modi announces launch of national digital health mission from today
PM Narendra Modi announces the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, under which all Indian would get a uniqiue health ID.
Explaining the project, he says: Coronavirus has made us think about being self-reliant with regard to health as well.
When the pandemic hit, we could only do 300 tests a day in the one lab we had. Now we can test nearly 7 lakh cases a day. We are launching a big programme on health today: National Digital Health Mission. This will revolutionise our health systems. Every Indian will be given a health ID which will contain all your information. What disease you suffer from , which doctor has been consulted, what medicines you are on will all be included in your health ID.
Three corona vaccines are in various stages of trial in India: PM Modi
The major question on everyone's mind these days is regarding the coronavirus vaccine, says PM Modi.
Our scientists are labouring in our three vaccine candidates that are at various stages of testing, he says, adding that once the vaccine is ready, they will be produced and distributed to all Indians in the shortest possible time. He added that a plan is already in place for this.
Women-friendly projects launched, says PM Modi
Whenever the women in the country got opportunities, they have taken forward the name of India, says PM Modi.
He says: From working in coal mines to flying fighter planes, our daughters are everywhere. India is one of the few countries where women are in combat roles in military. Nearly 70% of mudra loan holders are women.
We are also mindful of their health. In 6,000 Jan Aushadhi kendras, we have distributed 5 crore sanitary pads at ₹1. We will also be reconsidering the marriageable age of women soon.
NEP aims to connect our children with their roots while making them global citizens: PM Modi
After three decades, we have brought in the New Education Policy, says PM Modi, adding that it will connect India's students to our roots, but will also help them be a global citizen.
He continues: The National Research Foundation too has been set up as research is important for innovation.
During coronavirus pandemic, online classes have become common and online transactions have gone up exponentially.
For integrating villages into Digital India, we have decided to accelerate our optical fibre programme, and to extend it to all 6 lakh villages in India. We have decided to do this within the next 1,000 days. In the coming days, our dependence on cyberspace is only likely to grow. There are dangers in this too, and India is mindful of these dangers. As new systems are being put in place, a draft Cyber Security Policy will be put forward.
Middle-class has potential and wants new opportunities: PM Modi
PM Modi says India's middle class has benefited from various policies of the government.
He says in his speech: Whether it be agriculture, small industry or salaried class, our middle class have taken full advantage of even the smallest of opportunities. Our middle class can create miracles.
If there is ease of living that has to be brought in, it should benefit our middle class. Home loans have become cheaper. GoI made a corpus of ₹25,000 crore fund for completing housing projects that were stuck in a limbo.
GST has rationalised taxation, reforms in MSME sector will also benefit the middle class. Connecting cooperative banks to RBI is also a step in that direction.
Self-reliant India has an important priority — self-sufficient agriculture sector and self-reliant farmers: PM Modi
The big priority of aatmanirbhar Bharat is aatmanirbhar Krishi, says PM Modi in his Independence Day speech.
He continues: We have initiated many reforms with regards to agriculture. Many of you may not know that unlike other manufacturers, the farmers were not free to sell their produce to who they wanted and on their terms. We have freed the farmer to seek his/her own markets.
₹1 lakh crore has been allotted for agriculture infrastructure. Additionally, we will be building village-based clusters for agricultural and non-agricultural clusters.
Last year, I had announced the Jal Jeevan mission. I can say with pride today that every day we are adding tap-pipe connections to one lakh families. In the last year, we added 2 crore connections.
₹90,000 crore directly transferred to bank accounts of poor, says PM Modi
In the last six years, we have initiated many programmes for the welfare of those who labour, says PM Modi in his Independence Day speech.
He continues: DBT, subsidised gas connections, Ayushman Bharat, aawaas Yojana — these have been initiated to help our people in a transparent manner.
During the coronavirus pandemic, these measures have helped distribute free rations to 80 crore Indians, and ₹90,000 crores have been transferred to bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
The Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Yojana was launched to help people get jobs in their own hometowns and villages. Re-skilling and upskilling have been prioritised. For street vendors, institutional credit is a reality.
In the same way, inter-State labour needs good housing and seeing this, we have launched schemes for housing.
There are sections of society who get left behind; but for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, balanced development is important. We have identified 110 aspirational districts which are below the national average in terms of various indicators and we have devised programmes for their upliftment.
Today, many big companies of world are turning to India: PM Modi
Even as we battle the coronavirus pandemic, we have had cyclones, locust attacks, earthquakes, floods etc. But despite this, India did not lose its confidence.To lift the economy from the effect of coronavirus, we have launched the national infrastructure fund and set aside more than one lakh crore to this end.
When Atalji [A.B, Vajpayee] was the Prime Minister, he had launched the far-sighted Golden Quadrilateral project. We have to take this forward. We can’t look at infrastructure in silos. It has to be looked at in an integrated manner. Multi-modal infrastructure is the way forward.
Our coastlines are important for world trade, and so we will be making four-lane roads leading up to our ports.
Our Shastras say that the basis of any society’s freedom is its prosperity and is based on the labour of its people.
Mindset today should be ‘vocal for local’, says PM Modi
"Even in the space sector, we have made changes for moving ahead. Our progress on space, health, power sector etc benefits our neighbours and the rest of the world. We have to find ways where goods made in India attract praise," says the Prime Minister in his speech, adding that India has to leverage our human resource to achieve this.
I know that there are many apprehensions associated with the phrase self-reliance, but there are many solutions to apprehensions and doubts, says PM Modi.
For example, during the coronavirus pandemic, our people and industry took up the challenge. Earlier, we did not produce N95 masks or PPE, but now not only do we produce enough for ourselves but we export these as well. We must 'Go Vocal For Local'. If we don’t promote our products, then who will?
India’s progress is remarkable. Who thought that one day, welfare funds would be directly sent into bank accounts of the poor, space sector would be opened, Essential Services act would be amended, that there would be 'One Nation One Tax' or 'One Nation, One Ration-card'.
Recently, we have seen an 18% increase in FDI, a record. This confidence wasn’t born all of a sudden. For this, India has initiated reforms and made policy changes. Today, along with 'Make in India', we must talk of Make For World'.
For how long India will export raw materials and import finished products; country has to become self-reliant: PM Modi
"I have great confidence in the youth of the country. I know that once Indians decide a certain course, they remain firm on it," says PM Modi, in his speech.
He continues: The first condition for aatmanirbhar Bharat is aatmavishwas — self-confident India. Economic progress must be coupled with humanity and human concerns. Today the world is interconnected and interdependent.
Thus, in keeping with the demand of the times, India too must contribute its bit. For that we must be prosperous and strong. Only then can we contribute meaningfully to the world.
It’s the call of the times that we must evaluate our natural resources. Till what time are we going to export raw material and import finished goods? We must proceed towards value-addition now.
As for the agricultural sector: In the past, we used to import food grain, but our farmers have ensured that not only can we feed our own people, but also feed the world. Our agricultural required certain reforms for further progress, and we have done that.
India’s freedom struggle has become a beacon in the world, say PM Modi
Continuing his speech, PM Modi says:
Those in a blind race of imperialism, gave two World Wars to take it to the point of destruction. But in the midst of this, India remained firm in its resolve to be free. History can not deny that India was a bulwark against expansionism.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, 130 million Indians took a resolution to be aatmanirbhar (self-sufficient). It’s not just a dream but a mantra for all Indians.
I know that when we speak of Aatmanirbhar, we (above a certain age) recall our parents asking us to be independent. The minute we turn 21, our family expects us to become self reliant. As a country, we are entering our 74th year. Undoubtedly, what is important for individuals, is important for the country as well.
All attempts were made to root out our cultures and traditions in past, says PM Modi
Despite the coronavirus and other disasters, Independence Day brings in its own enthusiasm and joy, and this year is special because next year we will be entering the 75th year of freedom.
These two years we have to go forward with a firm resolution on the things that we have to achieve.
In our past, under foreign rule, there was never a moment when our forefathers did not desire or fight for freedom. Revered Bapu, Gandhiji, led our struggle for freedom.
Much was done to prevent India from being free; those who ruled us thought they were here for ever, but our struggle for freedom finished their hopes.
They (the foreign rulers) thought that this country with so many languages, places, and princely states would never coalesce into one. But they forgot that there was an underlying unity in this diversity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses nation
My dear countrymen and women, my greetings to you all on this auspicious day of our independence, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on 74th Independence Day.
He says: Today, as we breathe the air in a free country, we acknowledge the sacrifice of lakhs of sons and daughters of Mother India who gave their all for our freedom.
Our men in uniform — Army, Paramilitary, Police — who are always ready to defend our freedom and safety: I bow to them.
I also recall Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, who traversed the distance between revolutionary to spiritualism. I bow to him too.
In this time of coronavirus, lakhs of people — our Corona warriors — and who served the people of the country without counting the cost to themselves: I bow to them.
Lakhs have been affected, thousands have lost their lives due to coronavirus. I express my condolences to families of those affected. For the last few months we have been going through one crisis or the other... floods and other disasters. I express my sympathies with those affected and would like to say that the State and Central govts will work together to help all.
PM Modi unfurls the national flag
PM Modi unfurls the tri-colour flag, as the National Guard gives ‘Rashtriya Salute’ to the National Flag.
The unfurling of the tri-colour is synchronised with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the gunners of the elite 2233 Field Battery (Ceremonial). The ceremonial battery is being commanded by Lt Col Jitendra Singh Mehta and the Gun Position Officer is Naib Subedar (AIG) Anil Chand.
PM Modi arrives at Red Fort
PM Narendra Modi has arrived at the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, where he is received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
The defence secretary will introduce the General Officer Commanding (GoC), Delhi Area, Lt Gen Vijay Kumar Mishra to the Prime Minister.
On his arrival at 7.18 a.m. in front of the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, the prime minister will be received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
The defence secretary has introduced the General Officer Commanding (GoC), Delhi Area, Lt Gen Vijay Kumar Mishra to the PM.
The PM then inspected the Guard of Honour, which was positioned directly in front of the National Flag across the moat below the ramparts.
Capital turns into a fortress for Independence Day celebrations
A day before the Independence Day celebration, the city has been turned into a fortress with multiple layers of security. Due to the pandemic all the necessary safety guidelines will be enforced and arrangements have been made on the rampart for only 100 VVIPs as per social distancing norms.
A senior police officer said that Delhi Police has made multilayered arrangements in connection with the Independence Day celebrations. Necessary coordination has been made with agencies like the NSG, SPG and ITBP. All the agencies will work in close coordination with each other to cater to all kinds of threat inputs. SWAT teams and ‘Parakram’ vans have been strategically stationed and the borders have been sealed.