Wearing his trademark safa, this time in bright yellow with hints of green and red with a long trail, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his sixth consecutive Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort where he deliberately avoided the mention of Pakistan but instead chose to focus on developmental issues such as tackling the water crisis, poverty, and terrorism. He also touched upon the importance of promoting tourism and keeping the population rates low, while also emphasising that within just 10 weeks of his government’s second term, many important decisions such as the abolishment of Triple Talaq to protect Muslim women, and Article 350 and Article 35 that gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir were repealed.
“Our forces are India’s pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a major decision from the Red Fort: India will have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS),” PM Modi said in his speech. This post was first recommended after the 1999 Kargil war.
Stating that the ongoing water crisis is a major challenge for the country, PM Modi spoke about multiple ways in which one should conserve water as he reiterated his government’s commitment to address the problem of water scarcity. He also talked about the setting up of a special Ministry to tackle this and said that Rs 3.35 lakh crore has been allocated to the Jal Jeevan Mission which he said will aim to provide drinking water to every household.
Touching upon the topic of poverty in the country, the Prime Minister said, “The country has to cross new heights, make its place in the world and we need to emphasise on the need to remove poverty from our home.” Saying that expectations of people have changed over the years, PM Modi said, “No longer are people satisfied with just pukka roads, few hours of electricity and railway stations. Now every citizen wants four lanes, 24 hours of electricity and airport in their area.”
He likened the menace of terrorism to termites, which were hollowing out the country from within. He also reiterated the government’s plan to tackle terrorism with grit. PM Modi said that even though it has been just 10 weeks since his government came back to power, they have taken decisive decisions to tackle the issue and will continue to do so in the future. The Prime Minister also stressed on the need to improve tourism and urged people to visit various places of interest.