Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday underlined the ‘achievements of his government within 10 weeks of returning to power’ and cited the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the new law on triple talaq to highlight the key decisions taken to ‘fulfill the aspirations of the people’.
Modi, who was delivering his first Independence Day speech after resuming power for the second term, asserted that his government neither nurses problems nor keeps them pending and that scrapping the special status to Jammu and Kashmir is the first step towards realising the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
“One Nation, One Constitution- this spirit has become a reality and India is proud of that,” the Prime Minister said, addressing the nation from the Red Fort in Delhi.
“Different governments made efforts in 70 years to deal with Kashmir but it did not bear results. A new approach was needed. We neither nurse problems nor keep them pending,” he added.
Taking a dig at those opposing the Centre’s decision, Modi asked, “Why did those who are supporting Article 370 make it a permanent provision for Jammu and Kashmir and kept it a temporary measure.”
The Prime Minister also elaborated on scrapping Article 370, saying, “The old arrangement in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh encouraged corruption, nepotism but there was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities. The dreams of sanitation workers were incomplete. How can we accept such a situation?”
PM Modi I-Day top quotes | ‘We neither nurse problems nor keep them pending’
“We think differently and it is India First for us. Politics comes and goes but steps in the interest of the nation are paramount,” he added.
Modi also cited the new triple talaq law as a medium to ensure a better life for Muslim women. “Scrapping of instant triple talaq will help Muslim women live a better life. The decision should not be seen through a political prism. If we can take steps against ‘Sati’ custom, female foeticide and dowry, then why not against instant triple talaq,” he asked.
The Prime Minister also expressed concerns over the flood situation across the country and assured all forms of assistance to those affected, “Today, when we are marking Independence Day, many of our citizens are suffering due to floods in various parts of the nation. We stand in complete solidarity with those affected by the floods and I assure that all possible support that is needed will be provided to them,” he said.
Independence Day photos: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses nation from Red Fort
The Prime Minister also reasserted his stand on simultaneous Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, saying the concept of ‘one nation, one election’ is imperative to make the country great. “Today, India is talking about ‘One Nation, One Election’. Discussions should now be held on one nation one election, it is imperative to make the country great,” he said.
On making India a 5 trillion dollar economy, the PM said his government will invest Rs 100 lakh crore on developing modern infrastructure that will aid in nearly doubling the size of the Indian economy to USD 5 trillion in the next five years.
“To some the target of nearly doubling the size of Indian economy to USD 5 trillion in five years may seem difficult. But when we have in five years (of BJP rule) added USD 1 trillion as compared to USD 2 trillion size achieved in 70 years of independence, then this target is achievable,” he said.
Modi also said that his government will not leave any stone unturned to “fulfill the aspirations of the New India”.”GST brought to life the dream of One Nation, One Tax. India has also achieved One Nation, One Grid in the energy sector. Arrangements have been made for One Nation, One Mobility Card. Today, India is talking about One Nation, One Election,” he said.
Stressing on the need for water conversation, the Prime Minister said, “India understands the important of water conservation and thus, a new ministry for Jal Shakti has been created. Steps have been taken to make the medical sector even more people friendly.”
In his speech, the Prime Minister also touched on the issue of population explosion. “There is one issue I want to highlight today – population explosion. We have to think- can we do justice to the aspirations of our children. There is a need to have greater discussion and awareness on population explosion,” he said.
Modi also announced the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to “further sharpen coordination between the forces”. The CDS will coordinate between the three services, the Army, Air Force and Navy, he said. “Our forces are India’s pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort. India will have a Chief of Defence Staff. This is going to make the forces even more effective,” PM Modi said from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi.