By Odisha Story Bureau, New Delhi:
Draft text of the English rendering of PM Shri Narendra Modi’s address to the Nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 70th Independence Day
My beloved countrymen,
on this auspicious occasion of our festival of freedom; I extend lots of greetings to the one hundred and twenty five crores fellow nationals and also to entire Indian diaspora spread all over the world, from this rampart of the Red Fort. This festival of our freedom, this 70 years of our Independence, is the festival for our resolution to take the nation to new heights with a new resolve and a new fervour and new energy. We are able to breathe in a free air as the result of the sacrifices, renunciation and penance of our millions of great forefathers. We are also reminded of the youths who kissed the gallows. We also remember Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru and countless great persons, who fought ceaselessly for the freedom of our nation. It is the result of their struggles that we are now fortunate enough to breathe as a free citizen. India is a very ancient nation. We have a history of thousands of years and our cultural heritage is also millennia old. Right from the Vedas to Vivekananda, from the Upanishads to the satellites, the Sudarshan Chakradhari Mohan to Charkhadhari Mohan, from the Bhim of Mahabharat to the Bhimrao; we have a long historical journey and heritage. Our land has seen many historical ups and downs and our generations have waged many struggles and observed penance to bequeath great values to the humanity. India’s age is not just seventy years. But having won freedom after a period of subjugation; we have made efforts to take the nation forward in this journey of seventy years. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel united the nation. Now, it is the responsibility of all of us to take make this nation better. We all have to work ceaselessly for the realization of the dream of ‘ One India, Supreme India’. (Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat).
Brothers and Sisters, We have not attained freedom for free of cost. Innumerable were the atrocities, but undeterred were our resolves also. Every Indian was a soldier in the battle for freedom. Each one of them dreamt of an independent India. May be every one of them was not fortunate enough to sacrifice, may be each of them was not fortunate enough to go to prison; but every Indian had a resolve and the leadership of Mahatma ji and also the inspiration of countless revolutionaries who had sacrificed every thing. All these movements contributed to our attainment of Independence. But, now we have to convert this freedom into ‘the real freedom’. Now, this is the resolve of the one hundred and twenty five crores of Indians. So, just as we did not attain our freedom without sacrifices; we would not be able to attain ‘ the real freedom’ without renunciation, without human endeavour (Purusharth), without bravery, without dedication and discipline. So, in order to take ahead this resolution of one hundred and twenty five crore Indians; all of us will have to move ahead with our specific responsibilities in a most committed manner. Be it a Panchayat or the Parliament, be it a village headman or the Prime minister; every one of us as well as every democratic institution will have to shoulder their responsibilities completely and perfectly. Only then we will be able to realize the dream of our the real freedom as soon as possible.This is correct to say that our nation is beset with many problems now- a- days. But, we should never forget that if we have the problems, then we also have all the capacities to solve them. So, if we move ahead with all our capabilities, we will find the ways and mean to solve all these problems. So, brothers and Sisters, if we have lakhs of problems, then we also have one hundred and twenty five crore brains also which are all capable to solve these problems.
Dear Brothers & Sisters, there was a time when Government used to be surrounded by aspersions. But now time has changed. At present, no aspersions are being leveled on the Government. Rather, people have great expectations from it. When the Government is engulfed in expectations then it signifies hope and trust, which in turn generates those expectations. Expectations give pace towards good governance, invigorates and so the pledges are implemented ad continum. My Brothers & Sisters, today when I am addressing you from the rampart of the Red Fort, it is,therefore, but natural that we should discuss the journey of good governance, the work done by the Government and work being done and should be done for the country. I can present before you a very detailed account of work done and also multiple issues regarding the performance of the Government. During the tenure of two years, the Government has taken innumerable initiatives and multiple tasks have been done. If I start giving details about them, I am afraid I will have to talk about it for a week from this very rampart of the Red Fort. So instead of that temptation, I would like to draw your attention towards the work culture of the Government. Sometimes, it is easier to present the account of work done. But, it is not easy for a common man to comprehend, understand and identify the work culture without dwelling deep into the work culture. My Brothers & Sisters, My Countrymen, I would not talk solely about the policy, but also the intention and decisions of the Government.
Dear Brothers & Sisters, it is just not an issue of direction and outline, rather it is about holistic approach and a resolve for transformation. It is confluence of trinity of expectation of people, democracy and support of people. It is both wisdom and consent. It is also pace and realisation of progress. Therefore, My Countrymen, when I talk about the Good Governance, it does implies bringing in transformation in the life of common man of my country. Good governance means that the government should be sensitive, responsive and dedicated to the common man. Then only good governance gets the emphasis. Responsibility and accountability should be at the root of it and it should draw its vital energy from there only for the government to be sensitive, dear Brothers and Sisters. We remember the days when there used to be a very long wait to go to any big hospital. People used to come to AIIMS, spend two three days and then only it would be decided what diagnostic tests were to be done. Now we have been able to change this system. Registration is done online and the doctor’s appointment is also given online. The processes start on arrival of the patient at the appointed hour itself. Not only this but all his medical records are also available online. And we wish to develop it as a countywide culture in the field of medical treatment. Today this system has been put in place in 40 big hospitals of the country. Its basic premise is that the government has to be sensitive.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, the government should be accountable. If it be not so then the problems of the common man are kept pending for solutions. How does the change come? Now technology is there, but there was a time when the railway ticket in the railways, concerning the common man and the poor was available only two thousand tickets per minute. Those who might have seen it, would know how the buffering used to be there, nobody knew when the website would be operational again, but today I have to say with satisfaction that now it is possible to have fifteen thousand tickets per minute.The government should be accountable, it should take steps according to the necessities and expectations of the people. There is a class across the country, particularly the middle class, higher middle class whom you see troubled more at the hands of the income tax officials rather than the police at times. I have to change the situation and I am trying and I will certainly change it.
There was a time when a common and honest citizen used to give two rupees extra as a measure of caution at the time of paying his income tax. He used to think that he might not be harassed, but once the money was deposited to the government exchequer, he had to run from pillar to post and seek recommendations for getting the refund. It took months together before the rightful money of the citizen was returned to him from the government exchequer. Today, we have made a system of issuing online refund. Today, refunds are given in one, two say or three weeks. Those who are hearing me today on TV, they would also be realising that they had not given any application, yet they had got refund directly into their account. So, this responsibility and accountability are the results of these efforts.
It is equally important to lay emphasis on the transparency for good governance. You know that a global relationship has already started to become a common thing in the society today. A middle class man wants to have his passport- there was a time when about 40 lakh, 50lakh applications were received for getting passport. Today, approximately 2 crore people apply for the passport. Brothers and Sisters, earlier 4-6 months were taken for scrutiny of applications if one did not have recommendations. We changed that situation and today, I can say with pride that passports are issued to the citizens with all genuine details, in about one or two weeks and there is transparency no recommendation is required and there is no dilly-dallying. Today, I can say, we have issued 1.75 crores passports (in 2015-16 itself.)
In Surajya there must be efficiency in governance and therefore, earlier, if a company had to set up a factory or desiring to do business in our country, applications were submitted. There was a task of registration only, one wanted to do something for the country, but almost 6 months passed in normal course. Brothers and Sisters, if efficiency is brought, then the same government, same rules, same officials have got geared up to perform the same task of company registration within 24 hours and they are virtually doing it. In the last July itself, they performed the task of more than 900 such registrations.
Brothers and Sisters, good governance is also necessary for Surajya and the steps we have taken towards this good governance are that, as I had said last year from the Red Fort that we would exempt group ‘C’ and group ‘D’ posts from interviews, they might get job on the basis of merit. We have detected almost 9,000 posts for which thousands and lakhs of people need to be recruited. Now, there would not be any interview process for these 9,000 posts, my young men would not need to spend any money for interviews. Recommendations would not be needed, roads for corruption and agents will be shut and this work has been implemented.
Brothers and Sisters, there was a time when a common man got satisfied if the government announced any plan or merely announced that this would be done, he used to think that something concrete would happen now. Then, a time came when people asked for the plan unless the drawing of the plan came. Then, there was a time when people asked for the budget. Today, the mood of the country has changed in 70 years. It does not get satisfied with the announcement, it is not satisfied by seeing the plan, if a budget provision is made, it is not ready to accept this. It is accepted when things get implemented on ground and we cannot bring things on ground with the old pace. We have to speed up our work, increase the pace further and then we can say that we have done something.
Rural roads are a perpetual issue in our country. Each rural citizen craves for pakka roads. Its a huge task. Atal Behari Vajpayi Ji took this task specifically .Even succeding governments continued this and the work continued. We have made efforts to fast track it. Earlier 70-75 Km of rural roads were completed in a day. Now we have increased that pace up to 100Km a day. This pace will fulfil the aspirations of common man in the days to come.
We have aid emphasis on energy, specifically renewable energy in our country. That was a time, when after so many years of independence, we started working on wind energy. Within a period of last one year we have increased it up to 40%.So this is the scale of up acceleration. Whole world is focussing on Solar energy. We have increased it approximately 116%-118%.This is not only a substantial incremental change, it’s a huge leap forward. We intend to enhance the things in quantum way.
In our country, even before forming of our government, we had the power production. But to reach the power, you need transmission lines and the good transmission infrastructure. Two years preceding the formation of our government,30-35 thousand kilometres of transmission lines were being laid annually. Today I wish to submit this with satisfaction that we have raised this to 50,000 Kilometres. So we have increased the pace here. If we take the commissioning of railway lines in previous 10 years, where commissioning means capacity to ply the trains and to finish all the trials, so earlier it was at the rate of 1500 kilometre in 10 years . But we have made it up to 3500 kilometre in last 2 years. We are to increase this pace even further.
Brothers and Sisters, Now we are connecting government schemes to Adhaar Card, focussing on stopping the leakages through direct benefit transfer. Previous government had connected four crore people to government schemes via Adhaar Card. Today I can say this with satisfaction that in place of that work of four crore, we have completed the task of connecting 70 crore people to government schemes via Adhaar card. The remaining will also be taken into the fold.
Today, for middle class or for common people the ownership of a car is a matter of pride. There was a time when gas stove at home was deemed as a standard and as a symbol of social status. During the last 60 years of independence, 14 crore LPG gas connections were given. Brothers and Sisters, it is a great satisfaction to me that on one side, 14 crore gas connections were given in 60 years, while on the other side, we have given 4 crore gas connections in just 60 weeks. Please compare the two figures – 14 crore in 60 years and 4 crore in 60 weeks. This is the speed, by which a change has become possible in the quality of life of common men. We have also started the task of eradicating obsolete laws. The burden of unnecessary laws has been creating hindrance in the functioning of the government, the judiciary and the public. We have identified 1700 such laws, out of which 1175 laws have already been repealed by the Parliament and several other such laws are in the process of repealing.
Brothers and Sisters, it had become a tendency among the people to say that certain work can be done and certain other work cannot be done, certain work cannot be done now and certain work cannot be done ever. A kind of negativity was prevalent in the minds of people. Now, a clear break through is visible in the mindset, a new synergy is seen in the functioning of the government. When an accomplishment is achieved, it stimulates dynamism, which sharpens our determination and then, the end result is not far away.
Brothers and Sisters, when we had launched “Prime Minister Jan-Dhan Yojana”, it was almost an impossible task. There were banks and the governments, nationalisation had already taken place, but the common man of the country was not able to be a part of the mainstream of national economy.
Brothers and Sisters, we have attained this impossible task through inclusion of 21 crore persons under “Jan-Dhan Yojana”. This is not a matter of taking credit by the Government, it is really an achievement of 125 crore countrymen of the country, for which I salute them. The campaign for women pride in villages of the country is an important issue of today. The practice of open defecation should be stopped; toilets should be built in villages. When I had got the first opportunity to address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I had expressed my feelings about it. Now, I can claim that more than 2 crore toilets have already been built in villages of the country within such a short period. More than 70 thousand villages are now free from the practice of open defecation. We are working towards bringing change in the lives of common man.
I had earlier announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort that we would electrify those 18 thousand villages, which are still without electricity.We are going to complete 70 years of independence, but they had not seen electricity. They were forced to live in the 18th century. We undertook this task of making possible the impossible and today I am glad to say that, though we have not been able to complete even half the task within a thousand days, we are still away from the half-mark, out of the 18 thousand, electricity has reached ten thousand villages. I have been told that there are many among those villages who are watching Independence Day celebrations for the first time today on television in their homes. Today, from here I extend special greetings to those villages.
Brothers and Sisters, you will be surprised to know that at merely three hours journey from Delhi, there is a village called Nagla Fatela in Hathras region. It takes only three hours to reach this Nagla Fatela. But it took 70 years for electricity to reach there. 70 years, my brothers and Sisters! And therefore, I am introducing you to the work culture that we are following.
Brothers and Sisters, the LED bulbs were developed by the science and the researchers for welfare of every citizen. But in India it used to cost 350 Rupees. Who would buy it? And even the government would think, “It’s alright. The work is done. Someone must be using it.” But this should not be the attitude. If LED bulbs can bring about a change in the life of a common man, if it can ameliorate the environment, if it can improve India’s economy, then the government must make efforts in this direction. It is the nature of the government that it intervenes where it is not required and shies away from intervening where it is needed. We tried to change this situation, this work culture. And therefore, the bulb which used to be sold at 350 Rupees, it is now being sold at 50 Rupees because of governmental intervention. See the difference! 350 Rupees on one hand and 50 Rupees on the other. I do not want to ask where all this money used to go, however, thirteen crore bulbs have been distributed till date.
The politics of our country has become populist; the economic policies have become populist. If three hundred Rupees subsidy for each bulb had been given from public exchequer, the Prime Minister would have been applauded for doling out five hundred crore to the people. But we have ensured that they save thousands of crores by providing bulbs at only fifty Rupees. We have already distributed thirteen crore bulbs and we have resolved to distribute 77 crores and I would like to appeal to my countrymen to use LED bulbs in their homes and save 200, 300, 500 Rupees in a year and save energy and save our environment. The day we achieve the target of 77 crore bulbs, we would be saving 20 thousand Mega Watt of electricity. When we save 20000 Megawatt electricity, it means we save around 125000 crores rupees. Brothers and Sisters, you can save 125000 crore rupees of the country by using a LED bulb at your home. We can fight against global warming by saving 20000 Megawatt electricity and contribute a lot towards the efforts aimed at the protection of environment and a common man can also contribute to it. So, brothers and Sisters, we have worked in that direction-making the impossible possible.
You know that we depend on other countries of the world for energy and petroleum products and for that we have signed long term agreements with them so that we could get these products at fixed prices for a long period. We have entered into an agreement with Quatar for buying gas till 2024 but the prices are so high that it is costly for our economy. It was a result of our foreign policy relationship that we were able to renegotiate with Quatar, and the agreement which was the right of Quatar, and we were bound to buy gas from it till 2024, we negotiated with them and today, I can say with satisfaction that we made an impossible task possible, they renegotiated their prices and it will save 2000 crore rupees of the exchequer of India. They were entitled to get these 20000 crore rupees but the nature of relationship that we have with them and our policies have made it possible. The negotiations have been going on during the tenure of all the Governments and efforts were also made for Chabahar Port, which is an important link for connecting us with Central Asia, but today I feel satisfied to see an impossible task becoming possible. When Iran, Afganistan and India collectively march ahead in a planned way for the construction of Chabahar Port, an impossible task becomes possible.
My brothers and Sisters, one thing, I want to talk about and which concerns the common man is inflation. It is true that the inflation rate had crossed 10% mark during the tenure of previous government. Due to our sustained efforts we were able to keep it below 6 percent. Not only this, we have, recently, made an agreement with the Reserve Bank of India that the RBI should take steps to control the inflation at the level of 4 percent with allowance of plus minus 2. We should leave behind the talks of balance between inflation and growth and work for moving ahead. But the country witnessed drought during last two years and the effect of drought are readily seen on the prices of vegetables and the outcomes of sluggishness of market have resulted in some problems. The decline in the production of pulses due to drought during last two years was also a cause of concern. But, Brothers and Sisters, if the inflation would have increased at the same pace as it had previously increased, I don’t know how the poor of my country would have survived? We have tried our best to keep it under check, but still people have lot of expectations from this government and dear countrymen your expectations are natural and I will not leave no stone unturned in achieving them. Whatever best I can do, I shall do that and keep the price of poor man’s meal under check.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, country is going to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Guru Gobind Singhji. How can the country forget the saga of sacrifice which has been the tradition of Sikh Gurus? Today, when we are celebrating the 350th anniversary of Guru Gobind Singhji, I recall one best thought expressed by Guruji. Guru Gobind Singhji use to say, how can I consider those hands pure which have not done any service, hands which have not strengthened by labour and have not developed any blisters by toiling hard? Guru Gobind Singhji use to say this. Today, when we are celebrating the 350th anniversary of Guru Gobind Singhji I remember our farmers. Whose hands are more pure than theirs? Whose hearts are more pious than their? Whose intentions can be more pure than theirs? I thanks our farmers that despite two years of drought, they consistently endeavored to fill our granaries, I greet them for this. Drought situation has changed and this time we are witnessing good monsoon. Heavy rains have also created problems at some places. Government of India stood with those states and citizen who suffered due to heavy rains. Today, I specially want to thank our farmers, because, when we are facing shortage of pulses and our farmers have shifted to other crops, and rise in demand of pulses by common man, I have to say this with content that this time our farmers have increased the sowing by one and half times. I want to thank our farmers because they have come forward to solve the problem of the crisis of pulses and find its solution. We have decided the MSP for pulses and declared a bonus on it. We have streamlined the process of purchase of pulses and promoting the farmers for cultivation of pulses. This will benefit us in a big way.
Brothers and Sisters, when I was talking about work culture, one thing was clear that I do not look at the issues in isolation but as a whole. Let us see it as integrated and just take agriculture under integrated things, we have developed such work culture with lot of hard work, the complete chain of which can produce a great result. First of all we focussed upon- the wellness of this soil, wellness of this land, soil health card, macro-nutrition, concern for micro-nutrition and made the farmers understand that this is lacuna in your soil, these are the good qualities, your soil is good for this crop, this is not suitable for this crop and gradually the farmers started their planning according to this soil health card. The people, who have planned, tell me, sir our expenditure has been reduced up to 25 percent and 30 percent increase is being visible n our production. This number is less at present, but in future as soon as this may pass on, this concept will gain momentum. The farmers have land and if they get water, then the farmer of my country has the power to produce gold out of the soil. The famer of my country has this power and that is why we have emphasized upon water-management, emphasized upon water-irrigation, emphasized upon water-conservation. We are emphasizing upon how every drop of water may be utilised by the farmer, how to increase the importance of water, and get per drop more crop, micro irrigation. More than 90 percent irrigation projects were lying incomplete and stalled. We have taken up the responsibility to complete those projects first of all and will work in the direction that lakh of hectares of land may get the benefit of irrigation. We have taken a big leap towards solar pump so that the input cost of the farmers may be lessened because nowadays the farmers require electricity also, they require water, they need electricity, and electricity costs dearer. On account of it, the input cost of the farmer is going to be less, the recurring expenditure is going to be less and due to owning solar pump at home will result in owning electricity, owning the sun, owning the field, owing the barn and thus our farmer would be happy. We have succeeded in distributing 77 thousands solar pumps till now.
Brothers and Sisters, I would like to congratulate the scientists of our country. Good quality seeds are also required along with soil, water and solar pumps. The scientists of our country have developed more than 131 new farmable seeds compatible to the climate and nature of India, which have the capacity to enhance our per hectare production. The values they retain are also being increased. I heartly congratulate these scientists also. The farmers require urea as well as fertilisers. There was time when black marketing was in practice to get the fertilisers, there was time when the police had to lathi-charge for fertilisers. There was time when the farmer used to watch his crop being damaged in the absence of fertilisers before his very eyes. Brothers and Sisters, the lack of fertilisers has become a matter of past, it has become history now. Today, we have succeeded in utmost production of fertiliser by overcoming the shortage of the fertiliser.
Brothers and Sisters, because of this production, the fertilizers are now available to the farmers in time as per their needs. Similarly, We conceptualized “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana”. It’s insurance cover includes maximum protection to farmer’s land and his agro-produce at a comparatively much lower premium, and that too with a guaranteed cover. We have constructed new warehouses to preserve 15 lakhs tons of food grains. Our country’s farmers will benefit only when we move towards value addition, and for this We have laid special emphasis on food processing for the first time. We have encouraged cent percent Foreign Direct Investment which would augment agro-based industries, and Consequentially, my brothers and Sisters, I believe it would help me and our farmers realize our dream of doubling latter’s income by 2022. These efforts would make it possible and for realizing the same, We have taken steps one after another.
Brothers and Sisters, Our country has a fancy for a trend. And the Governments, with an aim to leave an impression, have done a lot, and to fill the bill in this country, People go for some populist things and empty the exchequer. Governments have a trend of establishing an identity. Brothers and Sisters, I have tried my best to stay away from this allurement, and While doing so, I have tried to do several things in every range with the mantra of Total transformation, Transformation with transparency, Reform, Perform and Transform.
Brothers and Sisters, We are far more committed to build the image of Hindustan than that of our Government. Regardless of party’s identity, the Country’s identity holds primacy. For, If the Country moves on, it will yield dividends for the coming generations, for centuries, and exactly, for this reason, We have accorded primacy to the country’s identity and not to our party. Now a days, You must have observed the scope of our work in Railways. While we are talking about having Bio-toilets in train, we also cherish the dream of Bullet train. While We talk about “Soil Health Card” for farmers, we also want to march ahead in the direction of satellite and space technology. While talking about “Stand-Up India”, we are also taking steps towards “Start-Up India”. We are laying emphasis on Substance than on Symbolism. We are stressing on integrated development than on isolated development. Leaving aside entitlement, we are focused and emphatic on Empowerment because an empowering country, my brothers and Sisters, provides an identity to the Government through the prism of the newly declared schemes. But sometimes the old schemes just tumble down. Nevertheless, the Govts. is a continuity. If the earlier govts. have done some work; then it is in the national interest that the next Government rectifies their shortcomings and gives a go ahead to these schemes. The arrogance that this was the work of your Government and this is my Govt; hence we would not do this work; is not in the fitness of the things in a democracy. This is why, with all humility, we have given similar importance to the schemes of the previous governments. This is the hallmark of our work culture as our nation is a continuous and a ceaseless system and we wish to retain that system. This is why, I have a project called Progress. Under this project, every month, I myself sit and review all the on going projects. You would be amazed to know that almost 119 projects worth Rs. seven and a half lakh crores. started by various previous Govts. were lying pending. I got all of them going. I said, so much of money have been spent on them, so, all these projects should be completed. Now they are all on the way to completion. We created a project monitoring group. I asked them to look into all such projects and find out as to when were they started. I came to know that some of them were started 20 years ago, the other were started somewhere between twenty five to thirty to fifteen years earlier. The people living in the areas of these projects know all. We identified such two hundred and seventy projects worth Rs. 10 Lakhs crores which were inaugurated by some earlier govts. and some crores of rupees were spent on all of them; but all that money was going down the drain. We started all such stuck up projects once again. Brothers and Sisters, such helding up and delaying of the schemes after having spent crores of rupees on them is a criminal negligence and we have tried to tide over such things.
Brothers and Sisters, earlier railway projects took at least two years in getting sanctions. A train is passing from somewhere, road have also been made on the both side; a rail over bridge is to be constructed. But the approval took two years. We have speeded up the approval process and have been able to shorten the approval time to three or four months, or maximum to six months.
Brothers and Sisters, however fast we may work, whatsoever may be the number of the schemes started by us; the touchstone of good administration of any Government lies in the last man delivery or the benefits accrued to that person. So, this has to be taken care off. Brothers and Sisters, when policies are clear, intentions are clear; then the sentiments behind the decisions are also a class part and the decisions can be taken unhesitantly. So, due to the correct policies and the correct intentions our Government is taking unhesitant decisions and giving emphasis on the last man delivery.
We have seen and if you also go through the newspapers of Uttar Pradesh, every year there were stories about the outstanding balance of Sugar Cane farmers. Every year, there was news that this is not being done by the sugar mill owners, that was not being done by the state Govt, that sugar cane farmers are in distress. Thousands of crores of the rupees was outstanding. So, we made schemes in this regard and tired to ensure the last man delivery and also ensured that the amount should reach to the farmers. Brothers and Sisters, out of the total old outstanding balance of the thousands of crores of rupees, I would like to inform you with a lot of satisfaction that almost 99.5% has been settled. It has happened for the first time after many years. I can point out in solace that all the sugarcane which was procured and which came for marketing this time for that almost 95 per cent of farmers have got the price of sugarcane produced and I am sure and I believe that the remaining 5 percent of farmers will also be paid in the coming days.
Brothers & Sisters, We have initiated a mission to provide LPG Connections to the poor families. We have launched a dynamic mission under “Ujjavala” scheme to get rid of smokes emanating from chulha for my poor mothers. A target has been laid down to provide gas connections to 5 crores poor families within 3 years. Efforts are in progress and we have already provided gas connections to around 50 lakhs and that also have been done merely within the last hundred days – you can imagine – that it may be possible to achieve the said target even before three years. We intend to emphasis upon Last Mile Delivery in this mission.
Post has steadily become irrelevant due to onlining of our Post Offices, Information Technology, Whatsapp, messages, e-mail. Our country is known as the chains of Post Offices and we have revamped these post offices. Post Offices are linked with poor and marginalised people. Postman is the only representative of the Government who is linked with the feelings and affections of the common man. We have never safeguarded the interests of the Post Man who has always got the affections of everyone and the postman always cares for common people. We have taken measures to convert our post office into a Payment Bank. By setting of these Payment Banks, a network of Banks will be set up across the villages in the country. Pepole will get the benefits of Jana-Dhana account. The funds of MANREGA for the common man is now being transferred into their respective accounts through ‘AADHAR’, the cases of corruption are decreasing. Everyone will be benefitted through the mission of converting the Post Office into a Payment Bank.
Brothers & Sisters, PSUs in our country are merely set up for loss-making units or for turning into sick units slowly and steadily or for disinvestment. This has been the common practice in the past. We have strived to launch a new work-culture. Today, I can point out in satisfaction that we have succeeded to turn the operation of so called notorious Air India into an operational profit-making undertaking during the last year. It is a fact that which all the Telcom companies of the world are profit-making units, the BSNL was turning into a heavy loss-making undertaking. We have succeeded in bringing BSNL to operational profit for the first time. Nobody believed that the Shipping Corporation of India could also rake in profit, now it is bringing profit. There was a time when it was apprehended that how would a power factory last for a week. Whether we would be able to get coal for them or not. It also used to be reported that power factories have been shut down for want of coal. Now, we have sufficient stock of coal at the threshold of the power factories. It could be used for months by them. Dear Brothers & Sisters, we have achieved it.
Often, you must have seen that there is huge talk of corruption in our country. I have observed it myself that how corruption has looked the poor people from the lowest strata of the society and how huge amount of money is being wasted. We have linked AADHAR Card and AADHAR Number with the Government Policies. Dear Brothers & Sisters, earlier there was a system under which funds used to be released from public exchequer for widow pension, scholarship, persons with disabilities and minorities and also we used to receive list of beneficiaries. We looked into it deeply and found that even unborn children are also listed in it and getting benefit out of such schemes. These middlemen used to siphon off billions of rupees from it and nobody even took notice of it. But under the AADHAR System, we have removed all these middlemen from the list of beneficiaries and directly transferred the amount to the beneficiaries and found that these are millions of such ghost beneficiaries who do not exist at all and used to receive billions of rupees from it. Now that has been checked. We saved lot of amount. We decided to find out the needy persons who were excluded from that list so that the amount of money saved from it should invariably be deposited into the accounts of those persons who want to fight for their rights. We have worked in that direction to deliver it to the last man delivery and we have made it to reach it to them.
All of us are aware of the Coal Scam. Today there is no accusation on the coal auction. No stigma is attached to it. The states which excavate coal in India, will continuously earn millions of rupees in the near future. There was a time when the auction of spectrum was surrounded by allegations. We auctioned it online and that has filled the coffers of the country, bringing about healthy competition and also fetching benefits for the nation.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, today the world is passing through an era of global economy. Every country today is inter-connected and inter-dependent. Economically, the whole world is somehow inter-connected in one way or other. However much we may progress in our country, we’ll have to keep the global economy, global arena in view; come up to the global standards, match it also to stay relevant, and contribute, and also lead the global economy when the time comes. Therefore, we’ll have to be alert all the time. We’ll have to comply with the global standards to make ourselves up to date. Recently, you must have seen how the World Bank, I.M.F., World Economic Forum, credit rating agencies and such other agencies in the world have all appreciated the progress of India. The world is constantly watching these things due to the decisions taken one after another by India in respect of legal reforms, improvement in system and changes in approach. We have very speedily improved our ranking in `ease of doing business’ ratings. In terms of foreign investment, with regard to foreign direct investment our country happens to be the most favourite destination in the world today. We have left behind even the big economies of the world in matters of growth rate and GDP.
Dear brothers and Sisters, do you know what an U.N. institute has estimated about India for the next two years ? They have estimated that in two years India will come up to the third spot in the economic sphere in place of its present level at number ten. Brothers and Sisters, logistic support, infrastructure, all these things are taken into account in global standards, comparisons are made with rich countries of the world. Brothers and Sisters, while making analysis regarding this logistic support and infrastructure of India, the World Economic Forum has said that India has reached above 19 ranks as compared to earlier positions and India is moving up and marching ahead rapidly. Brothers and Sisters, the way we are marching ahead with a dynamic and predictable economy in our country and also in global reference- the recently passed GST law, is also an empowering step towards it and all those parties deserve appreciations for this.
Brothers and Sisters, I had talked about a campaign from the same place- “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao”. We do not do any work in piecemeal. We have an integrated approach and I still need the cooperation of the society in the initiatives which we have taken in “Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao”. Every single parent need to be aware. We should honour the daughters, protect them and give them the benefit of government’s schemes. We have covered millions of families under “Sukanya Samridhi Yojna” which guarantees benefits for the daughters when she grows up. We given greatest importance to the insurance schemes in which women are benefitted. They are going to reap its benefits. We have “Indradhanush Tikakaran Yojna”-because if we ensure two things for our mothers and Sisters i.e. economic empowerment and empowerment against health problems and we educate them, you can take it as an assurance that if even a single woman is educated in the family, if she is strong physically and independent economically, she has power to pull the poorest of the poor family out of poverty and therefore we are working with emphasis on empowerment of women, health of women, economic prosperity of women, physical empowerment of women in our fight against poverty.
Therefore, my brothers and Sisters, “Mudra Yojna”- I am happy that more than three and half crore families reaped the benefits of MudraYojna. In it, most of the people who reached to the door of banks were first timers. Even out of these almost 80 percent people were from SC/ST/OBC. Out of these too, 80 percent are women who took loans from banks, Mudra bank. This is to be considered that how will these womenfolk will contribute in economic development. Brothers and Sisters! last week we decided that our mothers and Sisters who have become the participants in the growth story, need leave after child birth. Earlier that leave was shorter but now we have increased this to 26 weeks, enabling the new mother to take care of her infant. Our weavers and the people working in textile, who make yarn and yarn rolls, used to get Rs.100.We have increased that to Rs.190 so as to strengthen the hands of my yarn producing mothers and Sisters. Our mothers, Sisters and weavers who are engaged in silk production will now receive Rs.50 more per meter of production. This has also been decided that this Rs.50 per meter will not go either to the trader or to the middleman or to the dealer. Instead this Rs.50 per meter will go via Adhaar directly to the account of the weaver who has produced it. This will empower the weavers. We have started schemes with this intention and effect is now visible.
My dear countrymen! When we visualize railway and post office then we are able to see the unity of India. More we increase the institutions connecting India, our setup will change and that will enforce the unity of the country. So in the same tune we have started a new market scheme for farmers with the name ‘E-NAM”. Today farmers can sell their produce online in any of the markets of the country. Now he is not constrained to compulsively sell his produce in the market which is 10 Kilometers from his field .Neither to sell at low prices which is not remunerative for his hard work. Now a uniform sort of market network is establishing throughout the country with ‘E- NAM’.GST is soon to result in uniform taxation system and a unitary arrangement thus achieved will unite India as well. You will be amazed to know that earlier a zone was to have surplus energy and there were no takers. Another zone used to be in dire need of electricity, had to remain in dark and factories used to be shut. To effect a change in this scenario, we earned a great success with the ‘One nation, One grid, One price’ .Earlier it used to be Rs.10 per unit in summers but I went to Telangana few days back to find it to be one rupee ten paise per unit instead of that age old Rs. 10. This is the result of one-price system, which can connect the whole country.
A worker of our county has to change his place of work after every one or two years. But, his amount, deducted under EPF, is not transferred. You will be surprised to know that when I took the charge of the Government, Rs. 27,000 crore were lying under EPF, which belonged to the workers. Workers were not able to claim their amount, as they were ignorant of the relevant process. To solve this problem, we have issued a universal account number to each worker, which would enable easy transfer of fund to his new place of work. Now, the worker would get his amount after retirement and it would no more be lying dormant in a government treasury.
We have strengthened various initiatives such as Bharat-Mala, Setu-Bharatam, and Bharat-Net etc. We are working towards connecting the whole country and towards economic development of the country through all these initiatives.
Brothers and Sisters, this year is important due to various reasons. The country is celebrating 1000th birth anniversary of Saint Sri Ramanuja Acharyaji. The country is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandra Ji, the Guru of Mahatma Gandhi. The country is celebrating 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh ji. The country is also celebrating centenary birth celebrations of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya ji. While remembering Sri Ramanuja Acharya ji today, I wish to underline his message to the country. He used to say that we should serve all the devotees of the Lord, irrespective of their caste and class. He had said that we should never humiliate anyone and should give respect to all, without any discrimination on the basis of age and caste. The issue that was given importance by Gandhi, Ambedkar, Ramanujacharya, Lord Buddha, our scriptures and by our all spiritual gurus too is the issue of ‘our social unity’.
If the society disintegrates, the empire straggles, gets divided into the highs and the lows, the touchables and the untouchables, then brothers and Sisters, that society cannot sustain. There are social evils, centuries old social evils, but if the social evils have become chronic, they need a bit harsh and yet sensitive treatment. The lackadaisical attitude will not solve the social problems and this is the responsibility of 125 crore citizens. The government and the society together will have to steer through the social conflicts. Brothers and Sisters, all of us will have to fight against the social evils. We all will have to rise above social evils in our own behavior. Each and every citizen will have to rise above them and then only we can build a strong India. Without empowering our society, we cannot make India strong. Mere economic progress does not guarantee a strong India, the guarantee of a strong India lies in a strong society. And a strong society is built at the edifice of social justice. A strong society is built only on the edifice of social justice. Therefore, it is our duty to lay emphasis on social justice. Whether they be Dalits, the downtrodden, the exploited, the deprived, my Adivasi brothers, the rural population, the urban population, the literate or the illiterate, the small or the big- the 125 crore of our fellow countrymen constitute our family. We together have to take forward our country and we all have to work in the same direction.
Brothers and Sisters, today the entire world acknowledges the fact that India is a country of youths. What cannot be achieved by a country through its youth power whose 65 percent population, about 800 Million people, is below the age of 35 years? Therefore, my brothers and Sisters, it is the need of the hour that the youth get opportunity and employment. Today we are heading towards the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya spoke of welfare of the last human being which was even the view of Mahatma Gandhi. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya believed in the philosophy of ‘Antyodaya’. Welfare of the poorest and the weakest was the central theme of the political philosophy of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyayji. He used to say that every youth should get education, every youth should be skilled and every youth should get the opportunity to realise his dreams. We have taken many initiatives to realise those dreams of Pt. Deendayalji and to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of 800 million youths of the country. The way the road network in the country is expanding, the largest number of vehicles are being manufactured in the country, the country is becoming the largest exporter of softwares, more than 50 new mobile factories have been set up in the country, all these things have created opportunities for the youths. If two crore door toilets have been constructed, it has provided employment to someone, cement has been procured from somewhere, iron has been purchased from some other person, and the wooden work has been got done from somewhere else. As the scope of work expands, the possibilities of employment generation also increase. Today, we have stressed in that direction.
Similarly, we are working on ‘skill development’ as a mission so that crores of youth could acquire skills. We have changed a law, though it seems very small, and this law is ‘Model Shop and Establishment Act’. We have sent an advisory to states to give reasons why the big malls are allowed to open 365 days and upto 12 in the night but a small shopkeeper in the village has to shut his shop after sunset. Even a poor should get the opportunity to keep his shop open for 365 days. Why should our Sisters not get the opportunity to work in night? We have made legal provisions so that our Sisters could go to work in night also. There should be arrangements for their safety and other requirements but they must get the opportunity to work. These are the things which increase employment. Brothers and Sisters, we are working in that direction and we are ready to do it.
Brothers and Sisters, this is the government, we are the persons who don’t believe in delaying the things, we know how to fight not how to delay, so unless we deal with the problems head-on, it is not going to happen. Today when we are celebrating our freedom in the country, some one among the army jawans, who live and die for the country, would be ready for taking the bullets on the border, someone will be sitting in bunker and some other one would not be fortunate enough to meet his sister on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. How many jawans are working in armed forces? More than 33000 police personnel have got martyrdom since we got our independence. Why should we forget them and how can we? These are the people due to whom we can live a life of peace and happiness. The issue of “One Rank One Pension” was pending for many years. We do not keep the issues pending but we face them. We have fulfilled our promise of “One Rank One Pension” and have spread happiness in the home of every Indian soldier. We did this work.
It was the feeling of our countrymen that the files pertaining to Netaji Subhash Babu should be declassified. Today, I bow my head and say that without caring for the result we have decided to declassify these files; a task which was impossible and kept pending since long. We invited Netaji’s family members and shown them the files and this process of declassifying will continue. I requested the other countries of the world to declassify the files held by them and hand them over to India because Indians have full right to know about Subhash Babu and history of India. We have worked in that direction.
Bangladesh — When partition of India took place, a boundary dispute existed since then. A boundary dispute prevailed since the formation of Bangladesh. Many decades passed. Brothers and Sisters, all parties have together solved the Indo-Bangladesh border dispute and we have amended the constitution also.
Brothers and Sisters, a middle class person wants to construct his own house, wants to buy a flat. Builders lobby shows him a beautifully printed booklet and the helpless soul falls prey to it. He is not having any technical knowledge, he pays the installments but he is not getting the promised house in time. A middle class makes one house in his whole life and in it he invests all his capital. Brothers and Sisters, we have put a check by passing the “Real Estate Bill”, so that a middle class should not face any problem if he wishes to own a house. We have worked for this.
Brothers and Sisters, I have already said that this year is the 150th anniversary of Shrimad Rajchandra Ji, the guru of Mahatma Gandhi. When Gandhiji was staying at South Africa, then also he was having correspondence with Shrimad Rajchandra Ji. In one of his letter Shrimad Rajchandra Ji discussed violence and non-violence. In that letter Rajchandra Ji writes, when violence came in to existence from same time the principle of non-violence also born. The important thing in both is that which we prefer or which is being used in the interest of mankind.
Brothers and Sisters, the discussion of violence and non-violence is very inherent in our country. Humanity is in our blood. We are the people of a great, colossal culture. This country is full of diversity, colours and beauty. This is such a bouquet of mother India wherein all type of fragrances, all type of colours and all type of dreams exist. Brothers and Sisters, the unity of diversity is our biggest strength. The mantra of unity is connected to our roots.
Brothers and Sisters, a country having more than hundred languages, hundreds of dialects, innumerable attires, innumerable life styles, despite that this country remained united- its main reason is our cultural heritage. We know how to respect, we know hospitality, we know how to assimilate, we have carried this great tradition and that is why there is no room for violence and atrocity in our country. If the democracy of India is to be strengthened, the dreams of India are to be fulfilled then the path of violence would never bring success for us. Nowadays a game of killing the innocents is being played on the pretext of Maoism in forests, on the pretext of extremism at border, on the pretext of terrorism at hilly areas by carrying guns on shoulders. Forty years have passed, this mother soil has grown blood stained but the persons on the path of terrorism have not achieved anything. I would like to remind those youth that this country will never tolerate violence nor would it ever put up with terrorism. Nor would it bow down to terrorism. It will never succumb to Maoism. But I exhort them and say that you still have time-return to the mainstream. Just think about your parents’ dream; just reflect on the hopes and expectations of your parents; return back to the mainstream; live a happy and peaceful life, for, the path of violence never fetches benefit to anybody.
Brothers and sister, we talk about foreign policy. I don’t want to go into details. We had invited the leaders of SAARC Countries on the day we took oath at the Centre. Our message was clear that we all, neighbouring countries, have a common problem, and that common challenge is poverty. Let us fight this poverty together, by fighting one-another, we are left shattered but if we fight this poverty, we will walk towards prosperity. So, I exhort all neighbouring countries to join us in this fight against poverty. No freedom can be much bigger than the freedom of our citizens from poverty; freedom of our country’s citizen from poverty. No liberation is more liberating than the freedom from poverty. Whenever a citizen from the neighbouring countries would get freedom from poverty, we will feel elated regardless of the fact whether the poor belongs to us or our neighbouring country.
Brothers and Sisters, what kind of people are those who got drive from humanity and, what is the kind of those who reward terrorism? I want to place two pictures before this world, and I say to the world, I say to those who believe in humanity that just weigh out the attack, when terrorists brutally killed innocent children in a school at Peshawar. The attack take place in Peshawar, and was a terrorist incident. The innocent children became victim of the bloodbath; the temple of learning had blood stream all around; innocent children were slaughtered. Hindustan, the Parliament had tears in it’s eyes; Every Indian school was in tears; every child of India felt the trauma of the deaths of children in Peshawar. His tears had become unstoppable. Every child, who was killed in Peshawar in the terrorist attack, ached our heart too. This is the drive of our nurtured culture of humanity; this is our humanity, but if you look around, you will find a more to glorify terrorists.
Where innocent people are killed in terrorist attack, and they celebrate, what type of terrorism inspired life it is, what type of these creations of the terrorism inspired governments are? The world will understand these two differences properly, this is sufficient for me. Today I want to specially honour and thank to some people from the ramparts of Red Fort. For the past few days the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, the people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, the people I have not met ever, but people settled at far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him, so it is an honour of my 125 crores countrymen, it is respect of my 125 crores countrymen and that is why owing to the feeling of this honour, I want to heartily thank the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir for having an expression of thankfulness.
Brothers and Sisters, today when we are celebrating the seventy years of Independence, then there is a big contribution of freedom soldiers for the country. When there is a contribution of these freedom soldiers, then the Government is deciding to increase 20 percent in the honouring amount being received, pension being received by the all these honourable freedom soldiers family members. The freedom fighters who earlier used to get 25000 rupees, will now get 30000 rupees. It is my small effort to pay my respects to the sacrifice and oblation of our freedom fighters.
Brothers and Sisters, when we talk about the history of freedom struggle of our country, some persons are talked about a lot, some are excessively mentioned but the contribution made by the people living in jungles, the tribals, in the freedom struggle was unmatched. They used to live in jungles. We hear the name of Birsa Munda but perhaps there would be no tribal dominated district where the tribals would not have fought and given sacrifice since 1857 to the time we got freedom. They proved through their sacrifice what is freedom, what is struggle against servitude. But our forthcoming generations are not much aware of this history. The government desires and plans that in the coming days, in the states where these freedom fighters, who were tribals, who lived in jungles, fought against britishers, who were not ready to succumb. The Government would work towards building permanent museums in various states dedicated to tribal brave freedom fighters, wherever land would be available for the purpose, where their contributions and memoirs would be displayed, so that coming generations could be able to know about their sacrifices for the country.
Brothers and Sisters, in the midst of the debate on inflation, we are realising one fact that the entire economy of a poor household is affected if somebody falls ill. The wedding of their daughters gets stalled, the education of children gets stalled and sometimes even food is not available in the evening. Healthcare is getting costlier and that is why, I am announcing an important scheme from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the healthcare of BPL families. Government are faking an important for such families. Under this scheme, in the coming days, if such poor families have to take medical facilities, the government will bear expenditure upto Rs.1 lakh per year, so that my poor brothers are not deprived of healthcare facilities and their dreams are not shattered.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, let us proceed forward with a new determination, new energy, new enthusiasm by getting inspiration from those great persons who scarified their lives for our freedom. We did not get an opportunity to die for the country but we have the opportunity to live for the country. We should dedicate our life to the nation. We should achieve something of substance for the nation. We should fulfill our responsibilities and also inspire others to accomplish their responsibilities. We should stride forward for building of one society, one dream, one resolution, one direction and one destination. With this very pious feeling, I once again bow my head before the great personalities of the country, the soldiers who risk their lives for our security on water, land and air fields and also those 33 thousands martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us. So,I, hereby, dedicate myself to dream about the future of the country and call on all of you from the rampart of the Red Fort to speak with your full might : Bharat Mata Ki Jay! Let the voice reach to every corner of the world.
Vandematram! Vandematram! Vandematram !
Jay Hind! Jay Hind! Jay Hind!