India Independence Day Celebration: PM Modi had asked for ideas from people for his speech.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd Independence Day, his fifth and final Independence Day speech before the general elections next year. "My dear brothers and sisters, the tricolour ensures equality, justice, opportunity to all," PM Modi said. He is likely to launch the world's largest government-funded healthcare programme, called the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme. It will be launched on a pilot basis in some states, with the full-scale roll-out of PM Modi's pet project expected in September end, sources said. Ayushman Bharat, popularly referred to as "Modicare", aims to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.
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The Ayushman Bharat scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, and will cover around 50 crore people.
10 big states are yet to sign up for the ambitious scheme. States that haven't signed not only include non-BJP states like - Odisha, Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala but also BJP-run states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa.
Seven out of these 10 states haven't signed the scheme yet as their existing state health insurance schemes cover a larger population than what is proposed under Ayushman Bharat. Six out of these seven are still in negotiation with the government so that their scheme can be integrated with Ayushman Bharat but Odisha has flatly refused to adopt Ayushman Bharat.
The centre has allocated about Rs 10,000 crore for the project, but is yet to release its share of the funds to the states.
For his Independence Day speech, PM Modi had asked for ideas from people, a practice he has followed for the past three years. "In 2014, the people of the country did not just stop at forming a government. They got together for nation-building and they will be at it," PM Modi said.
The Red Fort has been put under a heavy security cover, along with other critical areas in the national capital.
While 70,000 Delhi Police personnel are guarding the national capital, close to 10,000 cops have been deployed at the Mughal-era fort, which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people during the PM's address.
Over 500 CCTV cameras have been installed on the routes leading to the Red Fort with over 200 cameras in the fort itself. The footage is being monitored round the clock, the police said.
At the Red Fort, a special team of NSG snipers and commandos formed the inner layer of the security cordon, while anti-aircraft guns have been deployed to prevent any aerial intrusion by objects like drones and projectiles.
Traffic restrictions are in place on some roads for the Independence Day function at the Red Fort, while the Delhi Metro began services at 4.30 am to enable the movement of people attending the event. The Violet Line, one of the busiest corridors of the Delhi Metro, connects Escorts Mujesar in Faridabad to Kashmere Gate in Old Delhi.