India fighting challenges of terrorism, expansionism: PM in Independence Day address

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As we celebrate 75 years of Independence, we have to ensure India becomes self-reliant in energy production," Modi told the nation from the Red Fort.

India is fighting the challenges of terrorism and expansionism and is dealing with them with great courage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his Independence Day address to the nation. In these Covid times, the country is receiving its highest foreign investment and its forex reserves are at an all-time high, the prime minister said.

"As we celebrate 75 years of Independence, we have to ensure India becomes self-reliant in energy production," Modi told the nation from the Red Fort. He announced the setting up of a National Hydrogen Mission to make India the new global hub of green hydrogen and its largest exporter. "I have faith in our youth; this is a ''can do generation'', it can achieve every goal," he said.

Describing the New Education Policy as a means to fight poverty, he said it will focus on encouraging teaching in regional languages. The government has decided to open all Sainik schools to girls, the prime minister said. "I call upon all departments to launch a campaign to review rules and procedures; we must remove all rules that create hindrance," he asserted.

The prime minister, who hoisted the tricolour before his speech, announced a Rs 100 lakh crore ''Gatishakti'' initiative to bring employment opportunities for the youth and to help in holistic infrastructure growth. India will launch the ''Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti National Master Plan'', he said. Gatishakti, Modi explained, will help local manufacturers turn globally competitive and also develop possibilities of new future economic zones.

India imported mobile phones worth USD 8 billion seven years ago and is now exporting USD 3 billion worth of mobile phones, the prime minister said. Along with modern infrastructure, India needs to adopt a holistic approach in infrastructure construction, the prime minister stressed in his address. "We will have to work together for manufacturing world class products, using cutting-edge innovation and new age technology," he told the nation.

The government''s focus is to make small farmers, who own less than two hectares of land and comprise over 80 percent of all farmers, the country''s pride, Modi added. Rice provided under any scheme will be fortified by 2024, the prime minister announced. "We are witnessing the rapid transformation of our villages," Modi said while stressing that digital entrepreneurs are being nurtured in villages too.

In 75 weeks of the ''Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'', 75 ''Vande Bharat'' trains will connect different parts of country, the prime minister announced. The prime minister said the capitals of northeast states will soon be connected with the railways.The region, he said, is also getting connected with Bangladesh, Myanmar and southeast Asia.

The development of Jammu and Kashmir is visible on the ground, Modi said, adding that the delimitation exercise is on and preparations are underway for assembly polls there. Reservation is being ensured for Dalits, STs, backwards and general category poor, he added in his speech and emphasised that the hand-holding of deprived communities is necessary.

"We have to bridge the gap between lives in villages and cities," the prime minister said. Over 4.5 crore new households have received piped water supply within two years of ''Jal Jeevan Mission'', he said. The prime minister gave a call for ''Sabka Prayas'' along with ''Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'' for building a new India. India has to march ahead with new pledges for the next 25 years, Modi said.

"We have to ensure we meet our goal of building Aatmanirbhar Bharat when we celebrate 100 years of India''s Independence," the prime minister said. Modi stressed that the day should not be merely a ceremony. People can take pride that the world''s largest Covid vaccination programme in going on in the country, he said. He lauded doctors, nurses as well those involved in vaccine manufacturing and others involved in fighting COVID-19.

The pain of partition was one of the greatest tragedies of the last century, the prime minister said while asserting that August 14 will be remembered as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day. He also lauded India''s Olympic contingent, which was present at the Red Fort, and said their performance encouraged the youth of the country.

(With the inputs of PTI).