The will to progress is every Indian’s duty: Key takeaways from PM Modi’s marathon I-Day speech at Red Fort

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An efficient and smart India that has cut the flab of red-tapism and shed other unnecessary baggage of the past.

A strong and assertive India that is not afraid of expansionist bullies in the new world order.

A caring and self-reliant India that is equally committed to its urban centres and villages.

That is the idea Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out on the country’s 75th Independence Day.

His message, delivered from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India’s 75th Independence Day, was loud and clear: the leadership doesn’t lack political will and it is time for countrymen to craft new successes on the foundation that is there.

There comes a turning point in the development journey of every nation, the PM said in an address that spanned close to one-and-a-half hours. He appealed to the nation to cease that moment in India’s growth story. But plans fall flat without hard work, Modi reminded, and added a new dimension to his popular slogan of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’.

In his Sunday speech, the phrase became ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’, as the PM sought to underline that togetherness, trust and collective effort are key to taking the country to new heights.

India has to work together for next-generation infrastructure, world-class manufacturing, cutting-edge innovation and new-age technology — the four pillars of the new India, according to the PM.

He put emphasis on boosting connectivity, spoke of an upcoming Rs 100 lakh crore plan for infrastructure growth that will create jobs, stressed the importance of green energy and being energy-independent, encouraged startups, and highlighted the need for ramped-up domestic manufacturing and exports.

India will have to build capabilities in hitherto-unexplored domains and citizens will have to “own” the determination that the country has shown, he said, laying out clear expectations.

One of the most significant parts of his speech was his appeal to “central and state departments and all government offices” to assess their existing rules and processes.

“All such rules and processes that pose obstacles to the countrymen, become their burdens should be done away with,” the PM said.

Next, he highlighted his vision for a strong and formidable India. “Today, the world looks at India differently,” the PM said.

India is fighting the dual challenges of terrorism and expansionism, he added in the same breath, taking a veiled dig at Pakistan and China. “And India is responding to these challenges with courage.”

The PM stressed the importance of self-reliance in the defence sector and mentioned the Made-in-India fighter jets and submarines, to highlight India’s defence capabilities. He also spoke about the country’s ambitious human spaceflight that is in the works.

In the same speech, he spoke at length on welfare plans for India’s villages, highlighting his government’s flagship schemes for direct cash transfer to farmers, cooking gas, piped water and health insurance schemes for the masses. He also spoke of the need to improve rural roads and ensure that all citizens have bank accounts. From east and northeast to coastal areas and Jammu and Kashmir and Ladkah, Modi stressed development for all.

“The world is witness to the new chapter of governance that India is writing,” Modi said and added good and smart governance was a must to initiate and implement reforms.

There was more. He praised India’s Olympic heroes, underlined the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and also reiterated his government’s decision to observe 14 August as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day.

His speech laid out the road map for the next 25 years leading up to India’s 100th Independence Day. At the same time, he said India will not have to wait that long to realise its dreams if citizens and leaders work together to achieve the goals.

“The 21st century India is capable of setting big targets and achieving them. Today, the country is solving those problems that had not been solved for decades,” he said.

“This is a ‘Can-Do Generation’. It can achieve every goal,” the PM added, lauding India’s youth power.

A strong India ready to combat external challenges. A self-reliant India that focuses on domestic manufacturing and technology. A prosperous India where ‘bijli-sadak-pani‘ are not aspirations but reality.

The PM’s speech reiterated these aspirations of a restless nation. Before its 100th Independence Day, that’s what India wants to be.

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