NEW DELHI, Aug 14 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver on Tuesday his 10th consecutive Independence Day address – also his last before 2024 Lok Sabha polls – with a mood of anticipation around the annual showpiece event that he has used to present his government’s report card and unveil flagship schemes.
There is a view that the Prime Minister may choose to chart the country’s journey on his watch in various sectors since 2014 and outline his vision for the years ahead, something he has done in previous addresses as well.
Experts will also be looking for political messages in the address. Modi has mostly refrained from launching any direct political attack on opposition parties in his Independence Day addresses but has often stressed on the governance changes his dispensation has ushered in after a spell of “corruption” and policy paralysis.
India’s rising global stature, new energy and purpose in pushing forward the country’s development journey and increasing self-confidence of its population have been among the key themes of his speeches that have also highlighted the country’s embrace of firm security and foreign policy doctrines guided solely by the national interest.
Since his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort in 2014, when he had announced a host of new programmes such as Swachh Bharat and Jan Dhan accounts, Modi has made key announcements on the milestone day and sought to engage with citizens on a range of issues, including social ills like crimes against women and social conflicts.
‘Panch Pran’ (five pledges) was the main highlight of his speech in 2022, as he called upon people to make India a developed nation by 2047, remove any trace of the colonial mindset, take pride in our legacy, boost the strength of unity and fulfil the duties of citizens with honesty.
While he has often highlighted how he has taken up grassroots issues, such as the government’s push to build toilets for poor households to end open defecation, despite drawing smirks from his critics for focussing on “small” matters, it has not stopped him from outlining his grander themes for the country, be it mega infra push worth Rs 100 lakh crore through Gati Shakti project, nationwide electrification or modernisation of defence forces, in the yearly addresses.
Going by precedent, he may also announce some important schemes. In 2018 ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi unveiled the ambitious health insurance scheme for the poor, Ayushman Bharat.
It is in his August 15 speeches that he announced crucial policy decisions like the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff in 2019, celebrating Amrit Mahotsav of independence in 2021 when he outlined the Gati Shakti plan and the project to launch 75 Vande Bharat express.