Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation from the Red Fort on Thursday. This will be the first speech of his second term in office after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Over the years, Modi has used his Independence Day speech to make big-ticket announcements such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and Jan Dhan Yojana.
On the eve of 73
rd Independence Day, here are the highlights from his last five speeches: 2014
In his first Independence Day address to the nation as prime minister, speaking without a bulletproof glass in front of him, Modi launched a bunch of schemes as part of his five-year term. He also talked about being an outsider to Delhi and famously described himself as the ‘pradhan sevak’.
Re-instilling the Vedic mantra, ‘
sangachchhdhvam samvadadhvam sam wo manansi jaanataam’, he said the country is built on the foundation of its ancient cultural heritage. “We walk together, we move together, we think together, we resolve together, and we take this country forward together,” he said, explaining the motto.
He launched the Jan Dhan Yojna, in an effort to connect the poor with bank accounts. “There are millions of families who have mobile phones but no bank accounts. We have to change this scenario.”
Looking ahead to the 150
th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — in 2019 — the prime minister said cleanliness was the best way to pay tribute to him. He announced the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a campaign to clean “our villages, cities, streets, schools, temples, hospitals, etc. by 2019”, starting from October 2 that year, Gandhi’s 145 th birth anniversary.
He also called for the strengthening of the manufacturing sector with the launch of the Make in India campaign. “Sell in any country of the world, but manufacture here. We have got the skill, talent, discipline and determination. Come, make in India,” he said.
Modi spoke about how India’s strength lies in the diversity, simplicity and unity of its citizens. “India’s diversity is celebrated around the world. There is unity in every corner of the country. There is no place for casteism or communalism; these have to be defeated through development.”
He said that India is developing because of Team India, “a team of 125 crore Indians”, calling ‘jan bhagidari
’ — partnership with the people — the biggest asset of democracy.”
He reiterated his stance on empowering the poor via financial inclusion. “All our schemes must serve the poor. The doors of banks were not open for the poor. We decided this must end. Bank accounts are essential for integrating the poor into the financial system. After all, who are the banks for? When a bank branch is built somewhere, people rejoice. But this is still easy; getting people to those banks takes effort,” he said.
He also announced the Startup India initiative in a bid to enable more start-up businesses and top the world in terms of number of start-ups. He gave a much-awaited update on the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) scheme, announcing that the government had accepted it, and the ongoing talks were positive.
On the country's 70
th Independence Day, Modi appealed to Indians’ responsibility to convert swaraj into suraaj, explaining that it cannot be done without sacrifice, discipline, and staunch resolution. “ Suraaj means the progress of the common man; a government that is sensitive to the requirements and aspirations of the common man. Responsibility and accountability are to be the roots of such a suraaj,” he added.
Rather than launching big schemes, his speech was more focussed on patriotic sentiment. “For me, the image of the country is more important than what the world thinks of the government. Substance over symbolism. Empowerment over entitlement. The nation is more important than the party,” said Modi.
Addressing the school massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan he said: “I am grateful to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who have thanked me in the past few days. If the people of Balochistan thank me, they are thanking the 125 crore Indians.”
He also talked about the recently-passed goods and services tax (GST), finally fulfilling the OROP promise, and capping inflation at 6 percent.
In his fourth Independence Day speech, the prime minister painted a picture of his ideal India. “We will create an India where the poor owns a house and has access to electricity and water. An India where the farmer sleeps in peace and grows his income two-fold by 2022. An India where the young women get opportunities in every field. An India that is free of terrorism, corruption, dynasty politics, communalism, and casteism. And finally, an India that is clean and healthy,” he said.
He updated the country about the effects and aftermath of the November 2016 banknote demonetisation, revealing that Rs 2 lakh crores were recovered and 1.75 lakh companies had their registrations cancelled.
Modi also exhibited his support for women affected by triple talaq, and said that embracing every Kashmiri, and not indulging in violence, is the answer to address the issues in the region.
reflected on the progress his government and the country had made since 2013, the year before he was elected. “If we had continued at the same pace at which toilets were being built in 2013, the pace at which electrification was happening in 2013, it would have taken us decades to complete them,” he said, before adding, “If we take 2013 as the baseline, you will be surprised at the speed at which the country is progressing.”
He also pointed to the progress in the country's economy, noting that it went from being called a ‘high-risk economy’ to being praised for the reforms. “From being seen among the fragile five, India is now the land of reform, perform and transform. We are poised for economic growth,” he stated.Modi announced the Space Mission, saying, “In 2022, on the occasion of India’s 75
th Independence Day, India will unfurl the tricolour in the space.” He launched the Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, which aimed to provide access to good quality and affordable healthcare for the poor. And once again, he addressed the Kashmir issue by advocating for peace, urging the nation to embrace the region and its residents.