Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the nation from the Red Fort in Delhi on the 73rd Independence Day. This was his sixth consecutive address to the nation as the Prime Minister ever since the BJP-led NDA first came to power in 2014.
Here are the highlights of PM Narendra Modi's Independence Day 2019 speech:
I would like to give my wishes to all citizens on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
While the nation celebrates Independence Day today, there are many across the country who are facing immense difficulties due to heavy rain and floods. The NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and others are working round-the-clock to ensure that they are safe.
We have taken some very significant decisions in the first 10 weeks itself (of the second term) to ensure that the nation sees unhindered growth. The removal of Article 370, Article 35A, and the removal of triple talaq that will help our Muslim sisters immensely.
This is the time to think about the India of the 21st century and how the dreams of the people will be fulfilled.
India understands the importance of water conservation and thus, a new ministry for Jal Shakti has been created. Steps have been taken to make the medical sector even more people-friendly.
Many in 2014 thought, 'will changing a government really bring the change I want to see in my country?' We worked extremely hard between 2014 and 2019 with only the thought of our nation and citizens, and worked tirelessly for them. And in 2019, we saw that there was belief, people gave a mandate because they believed their country could change for the better.
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 the Muslim women were, who suffered due to triple talaq but we ended the practice.
We do not believe in creating problems or prolonging them. In less than 70 days of the new government, Article 370 has become history, and in both houses of parliament, two-third of the members supported this step. We want to serve Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The old arrangement in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh encouraged 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 such a situation?
Those who supported Article 370, India is asking them: If this was so important and life-changing, why was this Article not made permanent? After all, those people had large mandates and could have removed the temporary status of Article 370. We think differently and it is India first for us. Politics comes and goes but steps in the interest of the nation are paramount.
One nation, one Constitution - this spirit has become a reality and India is proud of that. GST (goods and services tax) 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.
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. It is unfortunate, however, that so many people lack access to water even 70 years after Independence. Work on the Jal Jeevan Mission will progress with great vigour in the years to come.
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.
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.
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.
I always ask - can we not remove the excess influence of government 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.
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.
People's thinking has changed. Earlier, people were happy with merely a plan to make a railway station. Now people ask - when will Vande Bharat Express come to my area? People do not want only good railway stations or bus stations, they ask - when is a good airport coming? 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.
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.
In the first 70 years since our Independence, we became a $2 trillion economy. But only in the last five years between 2014 and 2019, we added $1 trillion to it, making India a $3 trillion economy. And if we could do that in just five years, I am confident we will make India a $5 trillion economy in the next five years.
Today, the government 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.
Wealth creation is a great national service. Let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed. Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India's wealth and we respect them.
India has so much to offer; there is so much to see, such natural beauty. It is our collective responsibility to preserve it, conserve it. It is upon us all to ensure that we do our bit to make India a top tourism destination. We must all ensure that our guests are treated well and ensure that tourists have a great experience. Tourism has tremendous potential.
From the ramparts of the Red Fort, I give my greetings to the people of Afghanistan who are marking 100 years of freedom.
Today, the entire world faces the threat of terrorism... the dark clouds of death can emerge anywhere, and at any time. This must be dealt with collectively, and India will certainly do her bit to ensure terrorism is dealt with head-on and is ended.
Our (armed) 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). This is going to make the forces even more effective.
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.
Our priority should be a 'Made in India' product. Can we think of consuming local products, improving rural economy and the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector.
India has much to offer. I know people travel abroad for holidays but can we think of visiting at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022, when we mark 75 years of freedom?