Updated: August 15, 2021 10:55:53 am
As India marked another milestone on Sunday celebrating the 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, announced that the Centre will soon launch the Rs 100 lakh-crore Gati Shakti national infrastructure plan to boost the country’s economy.
Chalking out the government’s key plans over the next two years, Modi said, “In the coming days, we will launch the PM Gati Shakti Plan — a 100 lakh-crore national infrastructure master project that will make a foundation for holistic infrastructure and give an integrated pathway to our economy. To further increase our developmental progress, we have to focus on our manufacturing and export.”
During the speech, the Prime Minister also lauded India’s Olympic contingent, frontline and healthcare workers and Covid warriors, and paid tribute to former leaders of the country, including Jawaharlal Nehru.
After unfurling the Tricolour at the Red Fort, PM Modi, while drawing reference to the decades-long freedom struggle, said, “I would like to begin by conveying greetings on this special occasion of Independence Day. This is a day to remember our great freedom fighters. Be it Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, or Jawaharlal Nehru, we are thankful to our leaders who brought Independence.”
Lauding the 2020 Olympic contingent, the PM said, “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.” Around 240 Olympians, support staff, and Sports Authority of India and sports federation officials are part of this year’s celebrations at the Red Fort.
Expressing his gratitude towards all frontline and healthcare workers who helped the country fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi said, “During the pandemic, our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, sanitation workers and scientists who were developing vaccines were working with a sense of service towards the nation. All those who devoted every moment to serve others in this period deserve our appreciation.”
Praising the vaccination programme of the country, he added, “Indians have fought this battle with a lot of patience. We have had many challenges but we worked with extraordinary pace in every area. It’s a result of the strength of our industrialists and scientists, that today, India doesn’t need to depend on any other nation for vaccines. We can proudly say that the largest Covid-19 vaccination programme is being run in India today. More than 54 crore people have received their shots so far.”
Modi also set the 100th Independence Day as the target to fulfill the Atmanirbhar Bharat plan. “From Ujjwala (free cooking gas scheme) to Ayushman Bharat, the poor of the nation knows the strength of government schemes… Now we have to move towards saturation. 100 per cent villages have roads, 100 per cent households have a bank account, 100 per cent beneficiaries should have Ayushman Bharat card, 100 per cent eligible persons should have a gas connection under Ujjwala scheme,” he added.
“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. Today, that time has come in India’s development journey,” he added.
Saying that the country has moved towards a “people-centric approach” when it comes to bureaucracy, Modi said, “We have to stop the over-involvement of government in the form of complex policies. Today, we have destroyed over 15,000 unnecessary compliances. 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.”
In a move that aims at strengthening the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative, PM Modi announced that all Sainik Schools across the country will now be open for girls. “Today, be it education or Olympics, our daughters are performing tremendously. We have to ensure that they get equal opportunities and they feel safe and respected,” he added.
The Prime Minister also launched the National Hydrogen Mission with the aim of making the India the world’s largest exporter of the gas. “India is the only nation that is on the path to meeting its climate goals. Green Hydrogen is the future of the world and I plan to make India the global hub.”
Calling small-scale farmers India’s pride, Modi, while advocating for their welfare, said. “We have to deal with the fact that our farmers now have less land to cultivate on. More than 80% of our farmers have less than 2 hectares of land. We have to focus on helping our small farmers. We have to give maximum benefits of the government’s schemes to them — be it through DBT or Krishi Rail.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.