Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort in Delhi to mark the 71st Independence Day. He later addressed the nation, talking about the freedom struggle, the Goods and Services Tax and the demonetisation drive, among other subjects.
Modi said this year was special as the country celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement, and the Champaran Satyagraha will complete 100 years. He also pitched for a “New India” movement, a subject that was touched upon by President Ram Nath Kovind in his Independence Day eve speech on Monday.
The prime minister said the entire nation sympathised with the families of the children who died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur last week. Modi said the nation stood by those families.
Here are the highlights of his speech:
On New India:
- We are nurturing our youth to be job creators and not just job seekers.
- We should take the country forward and resolve to build a “New India”. We know the power of unity. Several people united with Mahatma Gandhi in the fight for independence.
- There is no one big or small in our country, everybody is equal. We can bring about a positive change in the nation together.
- We have to change our “Chalta Hai” [anything works] attitude, and adopt an attitude of “Badal Sakta Hai” [it can be changed], which will help develop the nation.
- The North East, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Odisha need to develop further and we are focusing on that.
- We will build such a nation together where youth finds jobs, women are empowered, every family will have a house with electricity and water facilities.
- Let us build an India, which will be free of terrorism and casteism. An India that will have no tolerance for corruption and nepotism, and is clean and healthy.
On GST and demonetisation:
- Those who have indulged in corruption by cheating the poor, cannot have a good night’s sleep. The government has seized Rs 800 crore black money from those people who have been evading the law for a long time.
- The nation has come together to support GST that has shown the spirit of cooperative federalism.
- Between April 1 and August 5, more than 56 lakh people have declared their Income Tax Returns, whereas it was only 22 lakh in the same period last year. No one is allowed to cheat in the country anymore, everyone is answerable.
- More than three lakh companies were discovered as shell companies, and the registration of 1.75 lakh companies were cancelled since demonetisation.
On militancy, defence and the Kashmir issue:
- In this independent India, the security of the nation is natural concern for everyone. All security personnel, anyone in the uniform forces, has fulfilled their duties in protecting the country.
- The world is with India in combating militancy. India’s stature in the world is rising. We will not be soft on militancy or militants.
- The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir will not be resolved by abuse and bullets, but by embracing all Kashmiris.
Other highlights of his speech:
- Good governance is about the quick simplification of processes.
- Castesim and communalism can never be beneficial for this nation of Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
- I admire the women of the country who are fighting against triple talaq, and want to tell them that we are with them in their struggle.
- “Bharat chodo” (Quit India) was the slogan during Independence, but today it is “Bharat Jodo” (Join India).
Security was tightened in the national Capital, especially around the Red Fort. Nearly 70,000 police personnel were deployed across the city, PTI reported. Around 9,100 police personnel have been stationed at the Red Fort.
At least 11 Parakram Vans, with National Security Guard-trained commandos, were deployed at the Red Fort and other two dozen have been stationed in other areas of the city. “The area will be multi-tier security checks in place for people coming to the area,” an unidentified police official told PTI.