On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation touching the issues ranging from the pathbreaking decisions his government made after coming to power in the second term including the recent abrogation of Article 370 to water conservation and flood relief.
Here are some of the highlights of PM Modi's Independence Day address to the nation on August 15:
PM Modi paid tribute to the sacrifices of the martyrs of India's freedom struggle. Saluting them for dedicating their lives for the country, the Prime Minister said:
"On this holy occasion of Independence Day, we remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country, who gave up their youths languishing in prisons, who embraced their death sentence, those who used Satyagraha and filled the cry for freedom through non-violent means under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, to those, I respectfully salute them for dedicating their lives for the country. I remember and salute today for each and every citizen who contributed towards India's safety and security. I bow to all those great women and men who devoted their lives so that India becomes free."
Speaking on the criminalisation of Triple Talaq under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill, 2019 passed by the Parliament recently, PM Modi said that India will never shy away from giving the Muslim women their rights.
"We have to think about solutions to the problems people face. Yes, there will be obstacles on the way but we have to work to overcome them. Remember how scared Muslim women were, those who suffered due to practice of Triple Talaq, but we ended the practice. When Islamic nations can ban it then why can't we? If in this country we can abolish the practice of Sati, we can make a law to eliminate female foeticide, if we can raise our voice against child marriages, if we can take firm steps against dowry, then why can't we raise our voice against Triple Talaq?"
"Our Muslim sisters were living in the fear of Triple Talaq. Many Islamic countries had ended it years before us, but for some reason, we were shying away from giving them their rights."
"You must have seen, our Muslim daughters and sisters, they had the Triple Talaq sword hanging over their head. They were living their life with fear. She might not be a victim of Triple Talaq, but, the fear that she would be a victim did not let her live. It made her helpless. Our Muslim sisters were living in the fear of Triple Talaq. Many Islamic countries had ended it years before us, but for some reason, we were shying away from giving them their rights."
PM Modi hailed the revoking of Article 370 and Article 35A which has ensured the integration of Jammu and Kashmir in India, saying that it is a step towards the fulfilment of the dreams of former Deputy PM Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He further attacked the old system of governance in J&K asserting that it led to corruption and nepotism in the political system and several dreams were left unfulfilled. He also attributed that with the integration of J&K in India, both J&K and Ladakh will be able to contribute to the development of the country.
"The new government has not completed even 10 weeks, but in this short span of time in every sector we have taken important steps. Article 370 and Article 35A being revoked is a step towards realizing the dream of Sardar Patel."
"We do not believe in creating problems or dragging them. In less than 70 days of our new Government, Article 370 was revoked, and in both Houses of Parliament, 2/3rd of the members supported this move. We want to serve Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh
"The old system in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh led to corruption, nepotism but there was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities. The dreams of sanitation workers were incomplete. How can we accept this?"
"Those who supported Article 370, India is questioning them, If this was so important then why was this Article not made permanent? After all, those people had huge mandates and could have easily removed its temporary status. We think differently and it is India First for us. Politics comes and goes but steps in the interest of the nation are paramount.
"For 70 years, every government tried something but a solution to J&K was not found. There was a need to start from scratch and try something new."
"J&K and Ladakh can now contribute to the development of our country. The new system is to facilitate this for the citizens."
Amid the ongoing flood crisis in several states of India due to the incessant rains, PM Modi, in his Independence Day address, extended solidarity with those affected by the floods and asserted that efforts are being made to help the affected citizens.
"Today, when we are marking Independence Day, many of our citizens are suffering due to floods in various parts of the country. We stand in solidarity with those who are affected by the floods. Many parts of the country are battling from flood fury, the state government, Central govt and NDRF are constantly helping the citizens."
This year, PM Modi emphasised on the need for water conservation with special focus on the 'Jal Shakti' ministry. He announced that the 'Jal Jeevan Mission' will continue to ensure that drinking water reaches every household and people from all walks of life are integrated into the movement to conserve water.
"The country fully understands the importance of water conservation and that is why a ministry for Jal Shakti has been formed. Steps have been taken to make the medical sector even more people-friendly."
"It is unfortunate, however, that a lot of people lack access to water even after 70 years of Independence. Work on the Jal Jeevan Mission will continue with great enthusiasm in the years to come."
"I am announcing from the Red Fort that we will go ahead with 'Jal Jeevan Mission' to ensure that drinking water reaches every house in the country."
"The movement towards water conservation has to take place at the grassroots level. It cannot become a mere Government programme. People from all walks of life have to be integrated in this movement".
After winning the massive mandate of the citizens of India in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi stated that he has observed that the mood of the nation has changed from disappointment to optimism. He also spoke about the path-breaking decisions that the NDA government took after coming to power in the second term.
"Before the elections in 2013-2014, I went all over the country in order to try to understand the feelings of the people. There was a disappointment on everyone's face, people used to think can this country change?"
"In 2019, I was amazed, the mood of the people of the country had changed, disappointment had turned into optimism, dreams became connected with desire and everyone was on the same page that this country can change."
"It has been under ten weeks since the new Government was formed but several path-breaking decisions have been taken. This includes decisions for Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, the end of Triple Talaq, steps for the welfare of farmers and traders. This is the time to think about the India of the 21st century and how the dreams of the people will be fulfilled."
"India has to reach new heights, we have to get rid of poverty. In the last 5 years, we have been successful to take steps towards it."
With the integration of J&K into India, PM Modi spoke about the dream of 'One nation, One Constitution.
"I am proud to say from the Red Fort today that now every Indian can say - one nation, one constitution."
"We are on the path of making Sardar sahab's 'one nation' dream. It is necessary that we make such arrangements that strengthens the unity of the nation, it is important that we emphasize on things that work as cementing force. And this process should go on and on."
"GST brought to life the dream of One Nation, One Tax. India has also achieved One Nation, One Grid in the energy sector. Arrangements have been made for One Nation, One Mobility Card. Today, India is talking about One Nation, One Election."
On the 73rd Independence Day, the Prime Minister appealed the nation to cater to the problem of "population explosion", adding that those who follow the policy of small family contribute to the development of the nation.
"There is one issue I want to highlight today- population explosion. We have to think- can we do justice to the aspirations of our children. There is a need to have greater discussion and awareness on population explosion. Those who follow the policy of small family also contribute to the development of the nation, it is also a form of patriotism."
He spoke on the need to curb corruption and nepotism, which he added have damaged the lives of the people like termites.
"Corruption and nepotism have damaged our country and like termites has entered our lives. We are working towards removing it. Every effort made to remove corruption and black money is welcome. These are menaces that have ruined India for 70 long years. Let us always reward honesty."
"In the last 70 years, every Government at the Centre and the various States, irrespective of which party they belonged to, have worked for the welfare of the people."
"I always ask- can we not remove the excess influence of Governments on people's lives. Let our people have the freedom of pursuing their own aspirations, let the right eco-system be made in this regard."
PM Modi highlighted the need to curb poverty in order to take India to new heights.
"If the country has to cross new heights and make its place in the world, we have to strengthen our program to eradicate poverty. It is not a favor to anybody, for a glorious future we have to get rid of poverty. In the last 5 years, we have successfully moved towards achieving the goal and compared to earlier days, faster and efficient work is done."
"India does not want incremental progress. A high jump is needed, our thought process has to be expanded. We have to keep in mind global best practices and build good systems."
"Time has come to think about how we can boost exports. Each district of India has so much to offer. Let us make local products attractive. May more export hubs emerge. Our guiding principle is Zero Defect, Zero Effect."
"Earlier the aspiration was to have a good mobile phone but now, people aspire better data speed. Times are changing and we have to accept that."
PM Modi reiterated on the dream of a $5 Trillion Dollar economy, adding the today the government of India is stable and the world is eager to explore trade with the country.
"We have dreamt of a 5 trillion dollar economy, it sounds difficult. But if we do not aim high, how will the country progress?"
"In 70 years, we became a $2 trillion economy, in 73 years we reached a $3 trillion economy, now we're targeting becoming a $5 trillion economy."
"Today, the Govt in India is stable, policy regime is predictable The world is eager to explore trade with India. We are working to keep prices under check and increase development. The fundamentals of our economy are strong."
Importance of Digital payment: “Digital payment ko haa, Nakad ko naa (Say Yes to Digital payment and no to cash transactions) - Can we make this our motto. Let us further the use of digital payments all over the nation."
Need for Make in India products: "Our priority should be a 'Made in India' product. Can we think of consuming local products, improving rural economy and the MSME sector."
Need to boost tourism sector: "India has so much to offer. I know people travel to different countries for holidays but can we think of visiting at least 15 tourist destinations in India before 2022, when we mark 75 years of freedom."
In one of the most importance messages on Independence Day, PM Modi reiterated the need for a fight against terrorism to ensure peace in the world. He extended support to countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in their fight against terrorism.
"India has to fight terrorism, we should play a role in ensuring peace for the world. The government is clear with its stand on those who spread and support terror."
"Those who give protection to terrorism and support it must be exposed. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka also are affected by terrorism. All countries in the world need to come together to fight this menace."
In a massive announcement, the Prime Minister said that India will have a Chief of Defence Staff who will be making the forces work more effectively towards the protection of the citizens.
"Our forces are India's pride. To further sharpen coordination between the forces, I want to announce a decision from the Red Fort- India will have a Chief of Defence Staff- CDS. This is going to make the forces even more effective."
He appealed the citizens to free India from single-use plastic, calling the shopkeepers to not allow the use of plastic in their shops.
"Can we free India from single-use plastic? The time for implementing such an idea has come. May teams be mobilised to work in this direction. Let a significant step be made on 2nd October."
In a major boost to infrastructural development, PM Modi announced the investment of Rs 100 lakh crore for the development of modern infrastructure of the country.
"Today according to the needs of the 21st century, modern infrastructure is being set up. We have decided to invest Rs 100 lakh crore on the country's infrastructure."
"Wealth creation is a great national service. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed. Those who create wealth are India's wealth and we must respect them."
Ahead of hoisting the flag at the Red Fort and his Independence Day address, PM Modi visited the Rajghat in Delhi and paid homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on August 15.
Earlier in the day, he took to Twitter to extend best wishes on the occasion of Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan:
On August 15, citizens of India from across the nation are celebrating Independence Day. This year, Independence Day is even more significant with the integration of Jammu and Kashmir in India following the abrogation of Article 370 by the Centre on August 7. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, people from all walks of life came together to celebrate the joyous occasion of freedom from the British Raj.