Narendra Modi today delivered his last Independence Day speech as the Prime minister before 2019 Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday. The prime minister continued his tradition of delivering long speeches and delivered an 80-minute monologue. As expected earlier, Modi announced the rollout of the Ayushman Bharat scheme roll out from September 25. Modi also touched upon economy, foreign affairs, security and women empowerment in his speech that was also laden with a good dose of political undertones.
Here are 10 takeaways from PM Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech:
The prime minister finally announced Ayushman Bharat scheme which aims to provide a health cover to 10 crore families. Modi announced that the government will launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat) on September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. The prime minister expressed confidence that the healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians. “The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat Scheme) will be launched on 25th September (Deendayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary) this year. It is high time we ensure that the poor of India get access to good quality and affordable healthcare,” Modi said. The scheme announced has been dubbed as ‘Modicare’ by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Permanent women commission in armed forces
In an unexpected but significant move, Modi announced that women would now be eligible for permanent commission in the armed forces. He said that the women personnel recruited through short service commission will be given permanent commission like men in armed force. Currently, women are not allowed to serve in the army for permanent service.
Space Mission 2022
Modi announced that an Indian astronaut, be it a man or a woman, will go on a space odyssey by 2022 on board ‘Gaganyaan’. The prime minister said when India celebrates 75th year of Independence in 2022, “and if possible even before, an Indian son or daughter” will undertake a manned space mission on board ‘Gaganyaan’ “carrying the national flag”.
Spread the word – Rapist won’t be spared
In a special appeal, PM Narendra Modi called for giving wide publicity to the cases in which rapists were awarded the death sentence. Modi said it would instill fear in people with “demonic mindset”. “The rule of law is supreme for us and there can be no compromise with this,” Modi said, adding the society needs to feel a million times more pain a rape victim endures.
On Economy: ‘India to be the engine of world growth for 3 decades’
Modi said that India will be the engine of growth for the world economy for the next three decades. He added that once considered as the “sleeping elephant”, India has started to run on the back of structural reforms like GST. The prime minister listed out the pace of reforms in the last four years of his government that pulled out the country from being considered a “fragile and risky” economy to being the fastest in the world.
Government Motto – reform, perform and transform
Modi shared the mantra of his government – reform, perform and transform. He said that the country was likened to policy paralysis and delayed reforms. “India was considered among ‘fragile five’ but today the world is seeing it as a destination of multi-billion dollar investment. The narrative has changed,” he said. The government’s motto, he said, is reform, perform and transform. He said that red tape has been replaced with ‘red carpet’, propelling India on the ease of doing business ranking .
Modi said that the government is committed to bringing a law banning the practice of instant triple talaq. Without naming a party, Modi blamed “some people” for stalling its passage in Parliament. The prime minister underlined his commitment to the passage of the instant triple talaq legislation in Parliament.
Doubling farmer income by 2022
In a crucial message, PM Modi said that a new agriculture export policy will be unveiled soon to boost farm income. He reiterated that the government is on track to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. The prime minister spelled out pro-farm measures taken during four years of his government, the cornerstone being the bold move to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of crops at least 1.5 times of the cost of production.
Kashmir issue: Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat
Modi recalled former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mantra to bring peace in Kashmir. Modi said Kashmiris problems can be resolved only by embracing its people, not with bullets or abuses. Modi said his government was following the teachings of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”Atalji called for ”insaniyat” (humanity), ”Kashmiriat” (eclectic Kashmiri culture) and ”jamhooriyat” (democracy). I also said that the issues in Kashmir can be resolved by embracing the people of Kashmir.”
Unsparing attack on UPA
The prime minister also attacked the former United Progressive Alliance government in his speech. He spoke at length about the progress India has made under his government and asserted that its rise is being hailed by the world. He drew a comparison between the situation in 2013 and how things stand after he took over as the prime minister in 2014. If the pace of the UPA government’s last year in power was maintained, it would have taken decades, centuries and generations to build as many toilets, distribute as many LPG connections among the poor, Modi said.