Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 74th Independence Day amid the Coronavirus-induced norms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extended his greetings to the people of the country.
He said today “we are breathing in a free India” as he remembered all those who have laid their lives down in the line of duty and members of the armed forces and the police.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the corona warriors and all those who have succumbed to the viral disease.
“On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation. Many have even lost their lives. The nation salutes them,” PM Modi said in his annual address.
“Corona has stopped everyone. In these times of COVID, Corona warriors have lived the mantra of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ and served the people of India. I express my gratitude to them,” he added.
With the Independence Day function relatively muted in terms of participation of people in view of the Coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi also pointed to the absence of the hundreds of school children who sit in front of the dais every year.
PM Modi further said today is the day to remember the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters and to show gratitude to security personnel including that of Army, paramilitary and police who ensure our safety.
Speaking on how India fought the British rule and attained freedom, the Prime Minister said, “India faced centuries of foreign rule. All efforts were made to destroy our nation, our culture, our traditions, but they underestimated our self-belief and determination. We lived through it all and emerged victorious in the end.”
PM Modi, in his I-Day address, gave a clarion call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, saying it is need of the hour and that India will realize this dream.
PM Modi said “self-reliant India” has become the mantra of the 1.3 billion Indians who he said have taken the resolve to transform the country even while facing several setbacks, including the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.
“I am confident that India will realise this dream. I am confident of the abilities, confidence and potential of my fellow Indians. Once we decide to do something, we do not rest until we achieve that goal,” PM Modi asserted.
“India has always believed that the entire world is one family. While we focus on economic growth and development, humanity must retain a central role in this process and our journey,” he added.
Even as Prime Minister Modi acknowledged that there are lakhs of challenges to attain an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, he exuded confidence that the country also has the power which gives crores of solutions ie, the citizens who give the strength.
“Today, we have opened up our space sector to the private sector. When India’s space sector grows, our neighbours and the world benefit from it too,” he said.
He said India never made PPE kits and the production of masks and ventilators were meagre, but now “we are making it all”.
The Prime Minister said now the time is to eliminate silos in the era of infrastructure and emphasized on “vocal for local campaign”.
Stressing on the “vocal for local” campaign, Prime Minister said, “After all, for how long the raw material from our country will be used by others to deliver us the finished products”.
“To fulfil the Atmanirbhar Bharat dream, we need an integrated infrastructure. For this, we have prepared a huge plan to connect the entire country through a multi-modal connectivity infrastructure,” he added.
“No longer are we segregating rail from road, ports from airports. We have clubbed them to have a holistic approach to infrastructure development,” he said.
Talking about inclusive development, the PM said we need balanced development where everyone gets the benefits.
About 7,000 projects of different sectors have been identified to bring new revolution in infrastructure, the Prime Minister said.
He said everything from electricity, gas connections, bank accounts, toilets in all homes, public sanitation for all, ration, Ayushman Bharat programme, internet connection to extending benefits to farmers, everything is being done at a rapid pace, and in an inclusive manner.
He also mentioned how the Government is working to double farmers’ income, make potable drinking water available in every home and build houses for the poor.
Further asserting that India is on the path of development, PM Modi said, “Over the last year, with an 18 per cent rise, FDI has broken all past records. It is commendable that even as the world battles COVID-19, investments are pouring into India. It tells us that the world sees our potential and has hope from a rising India.”
Continuing the tradition of sporting bright-coloured turbans for his Independence Day speeches, the Prime Minister chose an off-white saafa with broad streak of orange for the second Independence Day address of his second term.
Ahead of his annual Independence Day speech, PM Modi paid tributes at Raj Ghat and then went on to inspect the Guard of Honour at the Red Fort. He then unfurled the National Flag at the ramparts of the Red Fort. The Prime Minister was assisted by Major Shweta Pandey in unfurling the National Flag.
On unfurling the National Flag by Modi, the National Guard performed the ‘Rashtriya Salute’ as the Army Grenadiers Regimental Centre Military Band played the National Anthem.
On his arrival at the Lahori Gate of Red Fort, PM Modi was received by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
The Defence Secretary introduced General Officer Commanding (GoC), Delhi Area, Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra to the Prime Minister.
The GoC then conducted the Saluting Base in the presence of the Prime Minister, where a combined Inter-Services and Police Guards presented the general salute to him.