In last I-Day speech of his term, Modi hails India's rise under his govt

He also announced permanent commissioning of women in the armed forces like men.

New Delhi, Publish Date: Aug 16 2018 12:34AM | Updated Date: Aug 16 2018 12:34AM
In last I-Day speech of his term, Modi hails India's rise under his govtFile Photo

In the last I-Day speech of his tenure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today presented a picture of "rising" India under his government and contrasted it with what he termed as "policy paralysis" during the UPA rule, making a pitch for retaining power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd I-Day, his fifth speech after the NDA came to power in 2014, Modi also announced the launch date of his signature healthcare scheme for 50 crore Indians, permanent commissioning of women in the armed forces and a plan to send Indian astronauts into space by 2022.

In the nearly 80-minute speech, Modi devoted much of the time in presenting the report card of his government. "When 125 crore people move towards achieving a goal, there is nothing that cannot happen. In 2014, the people of the country did not just stop at forming the government. They moved together towards nation-building and are continuing to do so," he said.

The prime minister also talked about how India "moved" on the path of "reform, perform and transform" from the time of "policy paralysis" and "corruption" under the UPA rule.

Accused by the opposition of running a pro-business and pro-rich dispensation, Modi dwelt at length about his government's initiatives to improve the lives of the poor and the backward sections and claimed that five crore people have been lifted out of poverty in the last two years.

Showcasing achievements of his government, Modi said negative reports about India, delayed reforms, fragile economy and red tape were the terms often used for the country under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), while it is now being looked at as a multi-trillion dollar economy, offering red carpet welcome to investors.

One of the big announcements Modi made was the rollout of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme, described as the world's largest healthcare measure, on September 25, the birth anniversary of Hindutva icon Deen Dayal Upadhyay. He said the scheme will initially cover nearly 50 crore people from 10 crore families.

He also announced permanent commissioning of women in the armed forces like men.

"Women officers inducted into the short service commission (SSC) will get opportunity for permanent commission like their male counterparts," the prime minister said.

He did not elaborate whether it will be applicable to women in combat roles or in non-combat fields such as IT, military police, engineering, etc.

Referring to recent incidents of rape, the prime minister said the law is supreme, and asserted that the society must be free from this "demonic" mindset. He hailed a recent judgement by a fast-track court in Madhya Pradesh to hang a rape convict. He made no specific mention of recent cases of lynching -- another hot button topic being debated in the country.

Modi also highlighted his government's efforts to protect the interests of Dalits and backward classes -- the two communities being wooed by the ruling BJP ahead of the crucial elections -- and said the recent Parliament session was totally dedicated to social justice.

He said by 2022, India will send a "son or daughter" to the space with the national flag in hand.

He vowed not to spare corrupt and black money hoarders, saying efforts of his government have freed corridors of power from brokers, enhanced the number of taxpayers and saved Rs 90,000 crore by eliminating bogus beneficiaries of many schemes.

Modi ended his speech with a call for housing, power, cooking gas, sanitation, health, connectivity and water for all and said his government is working with this mantra. 

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