Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced a Rs 100 lakh crore ‘Gatishakti’ initiative to bring employment opportunities for the youth, help local manufacturers become globally competitive and aid in holistic infrastructure growth.
Addressing the nation on India’s 75th Independence Day, he said the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti National Master Plan’ will develop the possibilities of new future economic zones, and also announced the setting up of a National Hydrogen Mission to make India the new global hub of green hydrogen and its largest exporter.
In a nearly 90-minute speech that dwelt on a range of issues, including India’s deprived poor, its farmers and the pain of Partition, the Prime Minister also spoke of the challenges of terrorism and expansionism.
By conducting surgical and air strikes, the country had sent out the message of a ‘New India’, he said. This shows India is changing and can take difficult decisions, Modi said from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the centrepiece of India’s Independence Day celebrations.
The nature of international relations, he added, changed after the Second World War and there is a possibility of a new world order in a post-coronavirus pandemic scenario.
“India has seen the efforts of the world and also appreciated it. Today, the world views India with a new perspective. There are two important perspectives to it.”
“One is terrorism and another is expansionism. India is fighting these two challenges and responding to them astutely and with courage,” Modi said, without naming China and Pakistan.
Drawing a roadmap for the all-round development of India and its people, he said India has to march ahead with new pledges for the next 25 years.
“We have to ensure we meet our goal of building Aatmanirbhar Bharat when we celebrate 100 years of India’s Independence.
The Prime Minister, who called for ‘Sabka Prayas’ along with ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ for building a new India, also announced that rice provided under any scheme will be fortified by 2024.
The government’s focus is to make small farmers, who own less than two hectares of land and comprise over 80 percent of all farmers, the country’s pride, Modi added.
“We are witnessing the rapid transformation of our villages,” he told the nation while stressing that digital entrepreneurs are being nurtured in villages too.
Reservation is being ensured for Dalits, STs, backwards and general category poor, he added in his speech and emphasised that the hand-holding of deprived communities is necessary.
Over 4.5 crore new households have received piped water supply within two years of ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’.
Along with modern infrastructure, India needs to adopt a holistic approach in infrastructure construction, the Prime Minister stressed in his address after hoisting the tricolour.
“We will have to work together for manufacturing world class products, using cutting-edge innovation and new age technology,” he told the nation.
In 75 weeks of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, 75 ‘Vande Bharat’ trains will connect different parts of country, the Prime Minister announced.
The Prime Minister said the capitals of northeast states will soon be connected with the railways. The region, he said, is also getting connected with Bangladesh, Myanmar and southeast Asia.
The development of Jammu and Kashmir is visible on the ground, Modi said, adding that the delimitation exercise is on and preparations are underway for assembly polls there.
Describing the New Education Policy as a means to fight poverty, he said it will focus on encouraging teaching in regional languages. The government has decided to open all Sainik schools to girls, the Prime Minister said.
“I call upon all departments to launch a campaign to review rules and procedures; we must remove all rules that create hindrance,” he asserted.
Addressing the gathering held under the shadow of Covid with social distanced seating, Modi stressed that the day should not be merely a ceremony.
People can take pride that the world’s largest Covid vaccination programme in going on in the country, he said.
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He lauded doctors, nurses as well those involved in vaccine manufacturing and others involved in fighting COVID-19.
The pain of partition was one of the greatest tragedies of the last century, the Prime Minister said, while asserting that August 14 will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day.
“I have faith in our youth; this is a ‘can do generation’, it can achieve every goal,” he said. He also lauded India’s Olympic contingent, which was present at the Red Fort, and said their performance encouraged the youth of the country.