Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2014. His extempore speech was inspiring and motivating especially for the youth. He captured the hearts of millions of his countrymen and women by stating that he is our Pradhan Sevak (Prime Servant).

Firstly he paid homage to all those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country’s independence. He took a solemn pledge to work for the welfare of Mother India – the poor, the oppressed and exploited, and the backward people of India. He exhorted the citizens to dedicate themselves to the Nation so that every activity is linked to the Nation’s interest.

The PM affirmed that our Nation has been built by our farmers, workers, mothers and sisters, our youth, sages and saints, maestros, teachers, scientists and social workers. He paid his respects to the architects of the Constitution of India. He generously saluted all former Prime Ministers and earlier governments for the progress the country has made so far.

The PM stated that in the two and half months since his Govt took over, he has observed several governments within the main Govt fighting against each other. He has started making efforts to make the Govt a harmonious whole – with one aim, one mind, one direction, one energy – and steer the country towards one destination.

PM Modi declared that all the people in the Govt from Peon to Cabinet Secretary are capable and that he wants to awaken that power in order to accelerate the pace of the Nation’s welfare.
He said that a self-introspection is required daily by every Indian whether his/her actions have helped the country’s poor and safeguarded the Nation’s interests. For example, he said if one approaches anyone with some work, he/she begins by asking “what does it mean to me?” If there are no benefits to them, they say “why I should bother?” The PM stated that our national character has to be developed by each one of us thinking in the interest of the Nation.

Referring to assaults on women and young girls, he said parents ask their daughters umpteen questions for their safety. But are parents also asking their sons so many questions? He further stated that terrorists are also somebody’s children. Have the parents asked why their children are adopting a wrong path? Instead of holding guns, if the misguided youth shoulder the plough, the earth would become green and beautiful. He gave the example of Nepal where the youth have forsaken the path of violence and are associated with forming the Constitution. This should serve as an inspiration for our youth too.
The PM added that nobody benefits from communalism and casteism. If there is a moratorium on violence for 10 years, there will emerge a society with goodwill, peace, brotherhood and unity. 

Regarding female foeticide, he stated that doctors (for monetary gains) and parents must not sacrifice daughters in the hope of a son. So many old parents live in old-age homes, as their sons do not take care of them, while daughters sacrifice their own dreams to take care of old parents.

He differentiated between people in private jobs and government service, and said we have to revive the feeling that the latter are indeed doing a great service.

He said his Govt will soon launch a scheme for the poorest citizens – Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. He also said 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35 years. He proposed a two-pronged development of youngsters – (i) those who are able to create jobs and (ii) those who work with acquired skills.

PM Modi coined a slogan “Come, make in India”, inviting people the world over for the promotion of the manufacturing sector, including a vast range of industries viz. electrical, electronics, automobiles, agro value addition, paper, plastic, satellite and submarines, and sell these ‘Made in India’ products anywhere in the world. He reiterated that India has the talent, skill, discipline and determination. This would enable balancing of imports and exports.
He reiterated that import substitutes could be manufactured by the youth in India. He coined “Zero Defect and Zero Effect”, the latter meaning that the manufactured goods should not have an adverse impact on the environment.
He spoke of the development of “Digital India”, wherein all villages would be linked with Broadband connectivity to facilitate long distance education in remote corners in each village. Also a network of telemedicine would help in better health facilities for the poor.

Stressing on promotion of tourism, the PM said that for tourism, our country needs to be clean. Our 125 crore citizens should decide they would not spread filthiness in cities and villages. We should aim at having not a spot of dirt on our roads, in cities, villages, schools, hospitals, temples, etc. by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

He acknowledged that the need of the hour is to build toilets in villages and in schools. With the help of state governments, toilets in schools, with separate toilets for girls, should be the target by 15th August 2015. The PM also appealed to the corporate sector to help in building toilets in villages and schools as part of their CSR. He also urged MPs and MLAs in all states to select any village (with a population of 3000 to 5000, based on certain criteria) under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, and transform it into a Model Village by 2016.

The PM emphasized on a relook at the Planning Commission, in order to strengthen our federal structure and make it robust. A joint team of the Centre and the State Governments should move forward to empower the state governments, he said. Finally, the PM mooted the idea of getting together all SAARC nations to plan out the fight against poverty.

Anup Y. Attavar

Connecting Indians
B.E. Mech. (COEP); P.G.D. – International Trade (IIFT, New Delhi)
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