Let's take nation to 'new heights: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced a new campaign 'Start-up India, Stand up India' to promote bank financing for start-ups as he focussed his Independence Day address on promotion of entrepreneurship, farmers welfare and tackling corruption and communalism.
Addressing the nation on its 69th Independence Day, Modi also listed key initiatives of his 15-month government in the area of curbing black money, financial inclusion, fighting graft and inducing transparency, and said true economic progress must touch the bottom of the pyramid, reports The Times of India.
PM Modi, in his 85-minute speech from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort here, referred to the major issue facing his government — 'One-Rank, One-Pension' (OROP) — which he said the government has accepted in principle.
But he stopped short of announcing the package, demanding which ex-servicemen are agitating for over last two months.
He pitched for doing away with the practice of interview-based selections for low-skilled government jobs, saying interviews are the route for corruption. He said he would request state governments also to do the same.
For the institutionalized welfare of farmers, he said the agriculture ministry will be renamed as ministry for agriculture and farmers, a decision that comes against the backdrop of growing suicides.
Wearing a printed orange-coloured turban and delivering probably the longest Independence Day speech by a Prime Minister, Modi avoided any reference to the disruptions in Parliament over which President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday expressed concern.
Among the new campaigns, Modi, in his 2nd Independence Day address, announced the 'Start-Up India, Stand Up India', initiative to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth.
He said each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches should encourage at least one Adivasi or Dalit as also one woman in their area in becoming an entrepreneur as a tribute to B R Ambedkar on the 125th birth anniversary this year.
"We are looking at systems for enabling start-ups. We must be number one in start-ups... Start-up India, Stand up India," he said, adding the initiative would give a new dimension to entrepreneurship and help in setting up a network of start-ups in the country.
He also said that a package of incentives, including loans, will be given to manufacturing units for generating jobs for locals, as a push to 'Make in India' programme.
Modi also promised dignity of labour and announced that Rs 6000 crore will be spent on welfare of mine-bearing areas, mostly inhabited by tribals.
He mentioned the announcements made during his first Independence Day address last year like Swachh Bharat and Jandhan schemes and said many of them had been implemented in a time-bound manner like building of toilets.
The government programmes are focussed on welfare of the poor and other under privileged sections while ensuring reduction in inflation and efforts to boost growth to double digit, Modi said.
He focussed largely on corruption and asserted that the steps taken by his government to deal with this "termite" had started yielding results. He vowed to free the country of the malaise "braving all kinds of attacks".
Using the term "Team India" a number of times to indicate a united nation, Modi said people were also willing to contribute in their own way. As an example, he said, some 20 lakh people had given up their cooking gas subsidy on mere asking.
The Prime Minister said a host of steps had also been taken by his government to tackle the menace of black money - from the appointment of a special probe team to enacting a strict law to prevent such practices and punish its perpetrators.
Giving an example, he said, against 800 cases of black money being probes by the Central Bureau of Investigation when he took over in May last year, 1,800 fresh cases had been added.
"Many people did not like this," he said, adding this had to be done and already Rs 6,500 crore had been collected from people who had begun to declare their ill-gotten assets.
Modi said the day after he took over the country's reins, a special investigation team, as directed by the Supreme Court, was formed to probe cases of black money. Within a year, a stringent legislation to deal with this issue was also enacted.