Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday delivered the first Independence Day address of his second term. He spoke on various topics – such as the government’s decision on revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, a new post of chief of defence staff, becoming a $5-trillion economy, controlling population and reducing the use of plastic.
Here are the live updates from the speech:
1 pm: Read our coverage of Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address here:
9.06 am: Modi ends his speech.
9 am: “We have to be together, we have to move forward with our dreams,” Modi says. “The 75th anniversary of Independence is a big motivation for this.”
8.58 am: “We have to bring about change in our country,” Modi says. “We will have to construct 1.5 lakh wellness centres in villages soon. There should be a medical college for every three Lok Sabha constituencies. We have to build 1.25 lakh kilometres of rural roads. We have to give water to 15 crore villages. We have to give optical fibre connectivity to villages.”
8.54 am: Modi urges people who go for trips abroad to consider visiting at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022, when we mark 75 years of freedom.
8.52 am: Modi appeals to citizens to use digital payments. Local shops should put up boards discouraging the use of cash, he says.
8.48 am: Modi asks, “Can we make the country free of single-use plastic from October 2?”
He appeals to all authorities to make arrangements for such an initiative on October 2 as a first step. “The time for implementing such an idea has come,” he says. “May teams be mobilised to work in this direction. Let a significant step be made on 2nd October.”
8.45 am: Modi announces the formation of a post of chief of defence staff to supervise all three defence forces.
8.36 am: Modi says the time has come to think about how we can boost exports. “Each district of India has so much to offer,” he says. “Let us make local products attractive. Our guiding principle is Zero Defect, Zero Effect.”
“The fundamentals of our economy are strong and this gives us the faith to move ahead,” Modi says.
8.33 am: “Many think that achieving $5-trillion economy is not possible,” Modi says. “They need not be wrong, but if we do not take up difficult challenges, then how will we move forward?”
8.30 am: “The people’s thinking has changed,” Modi says. “Earlier, people were happy with merely a plan to make a railway station. Now people ask, when will Vande Bharat Express come to my area? People do not want only good railway stations or bus stations, they ask when is a good airport coming. Earlier, the aspiration was to have pucca roads, now they ask if they will get four-lane roads or six-lane roads. Now they are not satisfied by an electricity pole and a connection, they want 24 hours electricity. They no more want just a mobile phone, but want better data speeds. Times are changing and we have to accept that.”
8.28 am: “We need to make high jumps now, we cannot wait for incremental progress,” says the prime minister. “Rs 100 lakh crore will be spent on modern infrastructure, this will bring employment, new systems to fulfil needs.”
8.26 am: “Ease of doing business is just a step, my actual goal is ease of living,” Modi says. “No one should have to make any effort to get their entitlements from the government.”
8.24 am: “In the last five years, we repealed nearly 1,450 unnecessary laws – one every day on average,” Modi says. “In just 10 weeks of the second term, 60 such laws have been repealed.”
8.23 am: “I always ask, can we not remove the excess influence of governments on people’s lives,” Modi says. “Let our people have the freedom of pursuing their own aspirations, let the right ecosystem be made in this regard.”
8.19 am: “Corruption and ‘bhai-bhateejawaad’ [nepotism] are so widespread that we have to keep making efforts continuously to uproot them, not just at the level of the government but on all levels,” Modi says in his Independence Day speech. “We have made many efforts to solve this problem. Anyone who was an obstacle in this was told that their services are not needed any more.”
8.14 am: Modi talks about population explosion. “Before a child is born in our home, we must ask if we have prepared ourselves to fulfil the child’s needs, or are we going to leave the child to its fate?” Modi asks. “No parent can be like that, who keeps bringing children to the world but forcing them to live such lives. Social awareness is needed on this.”
8.12 am: The government’s work on the Jal Jeevan Mission will progress with great vigour in the years to come, says PM Modi. “The country has to make its place in the world and has to make itself free from poverty. It is not a favour to anyone,” says Modi. “We have made many successful efforts to reduce poverty in the last five years.”
8.05 am: Modi says that every government at the Centre and in the states in the last 70 years, irrespective of which party they belonged to, worked for the welfare of the people. “It is unfortunate, however, that so many people lack access to water even 70 years after Independence,” he says.
7.56 am: “If Article 370 and Article 35A were so important, why did you keep them temporary and not make them permanent despite having huge majorities?” Modi asks. “It means you also know that what happened was not correct, but you just did not have the courage or resolve to bring reforms. It would have jeopardised your political future, but for me the country’s future is everything.”
7.55 am: “In the last 70 years, these laws led to separatism and militancy and helped prosper dynasty politics and corruption,” says Modi on Kashmir.
7.54 am: “Earlier governments also made some attempts to solve the [Kashmir] problem, and when the solutions do not work, we must think of new ways,” Modi says.
7.52 am: “We neither put off problems for later, nor do we let them develop further,” Modi says on the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. “It got two-thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha, which means everyone wanted this, but was waiting for who will take the lead. And I have come only to do the work you have given me. I do not have anything for myself.”
7.49 am: “The sword of triple talaq was always created fear for Muslim women, it did not let them leave peacefully,” Modi says. “Many Islamic countries abolished the practice long ago, but for some reason, we did not do it in India. If we can abolish Sati and make laws to abolish foeticide and dowry, why not triple talaq?”
He says such decisions should not be considered from the political viewpoint.
7.46 am: Nothing can come in the way of success if we have the solutions, the determination, and pride in ourselves, Modi says.
7.45 am: “This is the time to think about the India of the 21st century and how the dreams of the people will be fulfilled,” says Modi.
7.43 am: If 2014 to 2019 was the period of fulfilment of needs, the period from now on will be a period of fulfilment of aspirations and dreams, Modi says.
7.40 am: Modi mentions the government’s work on the pension scheme for farmers, the formation of a Jal Shakti Ministry, and new legislation for the medical fraternity.
7.38 am: The prime minister says the new government has not yet completed even 10 weeks but has already started working for the people without losing any time. The Article 370 and Article 35A have been removed, and the triple talaq law for our Muslim women has come into effect, within just 10 weeks, Modi says.
7.36 am: Modi pays tribute to those who fought for India’s independence.
7.35 am: Modi expresses condolences to families of flood victims in different parts of the country.
7.34 am: Modi begins his speech. He greets the nation on the occasion of Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan.
7.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will start his speech shortly. The National Anthem is playing after the hoisting of the national flag.
7.14 am: Visitors, performers and jawans gather at the Red Fort ahead of Modi’s address to the nation, ANI reports.
7.12 am: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hoists the tricolour at his residence in New Delhi, ANI reports.
7.08 am: Former chief ministers and the local MPs are unlikely to attend the Independence Day celebrations in Kashmir, The Hindu reports. This is because of the stringent security measures put in place in all districts for the celebrations.
7.04 am: “On behalf of the United States government, I extend my best wishes to the people of India on your Independence Day,” says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “The United States and India have enjoyed close ties of friendship since the US supported India’s independence 72 years ago. Our shared democratic values, strong people-to-people ties, commitment to economic growth further cemented our relationship. Over past 2 decades, our friendship has flourished into a strategic partnership & we now cooperate on a range of important issues.”
7 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes India on Independence Day. “Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Indians,” he tweets. “Jai Hind!”