Modi stresses need to fight casteism, communalism, eliminate corruption
New Delhi, August 15, 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underlined the need to fight casteism and communalism in the country and vowed to eradicate corruption which, he said, was eating away at the vitals of the nation like "termites".
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort here on the occasion of Independence Day, he said India's unity in diversity was its heritage and strength.
"This heritage must be protected. If the country's unity is broken, then its dreams would also be destroyed. So, we will not allow casteism and communalism to grow in the country. We have to overcome these poisons with the nectar of development," he said.
On the long-standing demand from ex-serviceman for One-Rank, One-Pension, Mr Modi reiterated that the demand had been accepted by the government "in-principle." He said the modalities were being worked out with stakeholders, and he was hopeful of a positive outcome.
Stating that no country could progress by neglecting its army, he said, "I want to assure our soldiers, on behalf of 125 crore Indians, under the tricolour, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, that we have accepted One Rank, One Pension in principle."
"But the details are being discussed. We want to take a decision in the interest of the entire country and one which will do justice to all. I am hopeful of a good decision, the nitty gritty of implementation is being discussed," he said.
Mr Modi spent a considerable part of his 90-minute speech highlighting the resolve of "Team India", its 125 crore people, to root out corruption and to make India a developed nation by 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence.
He also used the occasion to provide a broad overview of the achievements of his government over the last 15 months.
He explained how various initiatives of his government had resulted in removing corruption from different aspects of governance. In this context, he highlighted the auctions of coal, spectrum and FM radio licenses. He mentioned the PAHAL scheme for direct transfer of LPG subsidy, which has resulted in savings of Rs. 15,000 crore. He said the introduction of "neem-coated urea" has helped to end diversion of subsidized urea to non-agricultural purposes.
He acknowledged that the common man still faces problems because of corruption. He described corruption as a termite, which needs bitter medicine, with possible side-effects, to cure.
He said various initiatives taken by the government had eliminated the role of middlemen and reduced corruption. He said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had, in the last one year, registered 1800 cases against corrupt officials as compared to 800 in the previous year.
Mr Modi also listed the steps taken by the government against black money and said the outflow of unaccounted income to foreign destinations had been checked.
Stressing on the need for farmers' welfare, he declared that the Ministry of Agriculture would be renamed as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare. He said that his Government was focusing on raising farm productivity, and providing electricity and irrigation to farmers. He said the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana had been launched with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore.
Mr Modi recalled some of the resolves he had made in his Independence Day address last year. He said the promise of toilets in all schools had been almost fulfilled, with the cooperation of States. He said financial inclusion had received a big boost with the opening of 17 crore bank accounts through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. He said the Rs. 20,000 crore deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts reflected the "richness of India's poor".
The Prime Minister also spoke of the welfare schemes launched by the Union Government, including Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, and the schemes launched for labour welfare.
Describing children as the greatest brand ambassadors for "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," the national cleanliness campaign, he said this vision had generated great interest for the people of India.
The Prime Minister announced the "Start-Up India" initiative, which would encourage entrepreneurship among the youth of India. He said each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches, should encourage at least one Dalit or Adivasi entrepreneur, and at least one woman entrepreneur. "Start-Up India, Stand-Up India," he said.
Mr Modi reiterated his Government's resolve to make India a developed nation by 2022, with a house and access to basic services like electricity, to all. He said the Government had resolved to connect with electricity all the 18,500 villages which still remain without power, within the next 1000 days. He also reiterated his vision for the development of eastern India.
Questioning the practice of "interviews" for recruitments even at relatively junior levels, the Prime Minister called upon concerned departments to end this practice at the earliest, and to promote merit by recruiting only through transparent, online processes.