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Announcements and Policy Directions – An Evident Pattern in PM Modi’s Independence Day Speeches

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As the country looks forward to another Independence Day Speech from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are several things which could be credited for the ever-increasing enthusiasm witnessed year after year. We have already highlighted how PM Modi gives specific promises usually in his speech and ensures that his government will achieve the objective within a timeline.

Beyond this, PM Modi’s Independence Day speech is also a policy interaction. The policy & programmes, apparently, for PM Modi are not a subject to be discussed merely in the confines of bureaucracy or academia. That is the reason why a pattern can be seen from his Independence Day speeches wherein he always makes it a point to put forth a fervent pitch of schemes and policy directions from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

2014 – Year of Many Announcements and Policy Directions

The Independence Day of August 2014 was the first address of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India. This had seen many big announcements and also a passionate pitch for already spelt out schemes.

The pledge for Swachh Bharat that created a massive cleanliness movement and ensured more than 10 crore household toilets built in the next five years. Now the nation is in the phase of ODF plus. He dedicated a great amount of time speaking on this at his first Independence Day Speech on Red Fort.

Jan Dhan was announced in this speech as the PM said, “I wish to connect the poorest citizens of the country with the facility of bank accounts through this yojana. There are millions of families who have mobile phones but no bank accounts. We have to change this scenario.” An insurance of one Lakh rupees for the account holders of Jan Dhan was also announced.

He also announced ‘Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana’. He said, “The birth anniversary of Jai Prakash Narayan Ji happens to be on 11th October. On 11th  October, the occasion of birth anniversary of Jai Prakash Narayan Ji, I will present a complete blueprint of “Sānsad Adharsh Grām Yojana” (Members of Parliament Model Village Scheme) before all Members of Parliament and State Governments, and I urge upon State Governments also that as per the feasibility in their respective states, all the Members of Legislative Assembly resolve to establish a model village.”

The year’s speech also saw a passionate pitch for ‘Make in India’ as he invited the world by saying, “I want to appeal all the people world over, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, “Come, make in India”, “Come, manufacture in India”. Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here. We have got skill, talent, discipline, and determination to do something. We want to give the world a favourable opportunity that come here, “Come, Make in India” and we will say to the world, from electrical to electronics, “Come, Make in India”, from automobiles to agro value addition.”

The seeds of today’s NITI Aayog, replacing the Planning Commission were also seen in that speech itself.

2015- The Taskmaster

Electricity to 18,500 villages within the next 1,000 days was announced in this year’s speech, and the government went on to create a record by completing the task before date.

It is here that PM Modi asked the Bank workers their service in making the Stand Up India scheme successful. He said that there are 1.25 lakh banking units across the country and they should together enable 1.25 lakh Dalit entrepreneurs to come up by reaching out to tribal habitations and the areas Dalits live.

In this speech he urged the state governments to abolish interview system for junior-level posts as soon as possible to end corruption in that process.

In the same speech, the PM announced that OROP is accepted by the government.

Thus, the year 2015 stood for various tasks announced from the ramparts of Red Fort.

2016 – For the Poor and Ancestors

On the one hand, BPL families were assured with health insurance scheme as PM said, “so that my poor brothers are not deprived of healthcare facilities and their dreams are not shattered.”  On the other hand, PM Modi focused on another neglected front as he said, “The Government would work towards building permanent museums in various states dedicated to tribal brave freedom fighters, wherever land would be available for the purpose, where their contributions and memoirs would be displayed, so that coming generations could be able to know about their sacrifices for the country.”

2018- Galloping Towards Mars, Sky Not the Limits for Daughters

The year 2017 did not see any major policy decisions announced in the speech but ambitious projects that the country has been yearning for.

“I feel proud to announce that very soon as a part of our Manned-Space mission, we shall be sending an Indian into space” said PM Modi in this speech. Further, a glass-ceiling was shattered when PM Modi said in his speech, “On this occasion, I declare with pride the grant of Permanent Commission for the appointment of women officers in Short Service Commission of Indian Armed Forces.”

2019- The Roots and the Border

The announcement of Chief Defence Staff was made in this speech, and saw implementation within five months. In the context of border volatilities at present and for the preparedness and the coordination needed at this juncture, one can understand how important a decision it turned out to be.

By this time India had made its success evident in Swachh Bharat. PM Modi made another grassroot pitch here. “I declare from the Red Fort today that in the days to come, we will take forward the ‘Jal-Jeevan’ Mission. The central and the state governments will jointly work on this ‘Jal-Jeevan’ Mission. We have promised to spend more than ₹3.5 lakh crores on this mission in the coming years.

Clearly, PM Modi’s Independence Day speeches give a clear direction to policy, a programme or a cause for the nation to own with the fervour of freedom fight. That prompts us to ask what is in store for this year’s Independence Day?

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