The coronavirus pandemic might be a big global menace, but not so big as to halt India’s aspiration of self-reliance and its development juggernaut, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of the 74thIndependence Day. In his speech of nearly 90 minutes, the PM announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, emphasised the need for self-reliance and ‘making for the world’, and also spoke of an integrated approach to infrastructure building.
Highlighting that his call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ had now become a life mantra for 1.38 billion Indians, PM Modi said it was time for everyone to become ‘vocal for local’. To this end, he said, we needed not only to ‘Make in India’ but to ‘Make for the world’. “How long will we keep exporting raw materials to the world and buying back finished goods? It’s time we started adding value within the country,” he said.
“The mindset of free India should be ‘vocal for local’. We should appreciate our local products, if we don’t do this then our products will not get the opportunity to do better and will not get encouraged,” he added.
Mentioning border tensions in Ladakh, without naming China, Modi said nobody could undermine the sovereignty of India as brave Indian soldiers were giving a befitting reply to aggressors in their own language. “From LoC to LAC (a reference to the line of control with Pakistan and the line of actual control with China, respectively), wherever someone has tried to undermine the security of the country, our brave soldiers have given them a befitting reply in their own language.”
The prime minister also said that a time of crisis like the present one (in the context of the coronavirus pandemic) also called for massive infrastructure development to provide opportunities to people of the country. He mentioned the ambitious Golden Quadrilateral projected mooted by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said we needed to take that forward in a bigger way. “We cannot work in silos any longer. There is a need for an integrated approach to nation-building through infrastructure development. It’s time to build a common, integrated multi-modal infrastructure where there is an interconnection among road transport, highways, waterways and ports.”
As for the development of a vaccine against Covid-19, Modi said, at a time when the entire world was eagerly waiting for positive news on coronavirus vaccine, India had not one but three vaccines under trial. As and when a green signal came from scientists, the government would make sure that the vaccine or vaccines reached each Indian expeditiously.
Launching the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), he said that the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted the need to work of the healthcare system and the government was committed to strengthening it and making it accessible to every citizen of the country. “From today, a new campaign is going to start in the country. It is the National Digital Health Mission, which will bring a new revolution in the health sector in India,” he said. Under NDHM, Indians would get a unique health card which will be interoperable. “One health ID will have the information of every test, every disease, every medicine that was prescribed to you by a doctor, and you’re your reports were,” Modi added.
The prime minister also hailed those at the frontline of the battle against coronavirus, saying “corona warriors have lived the mantra of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ and served the people of the country.”
Modi also said that foreign direct investments (FDI) coming into India had risen to a record high, even as the world was reeling from a health crisis and the consequent economic crisis. This, he said, went on to prove the might of India’s economy and the promise global countries saw in investing in India. “Today, many big companies are turning towards India. We have to move forward with the mantra of ‘Make for the world’ along with Make in India’,” the PM added.
He also stated that country had progressed in all fields in past six years and added that “be it providing every household with electricity, cooking gas, creating bank accounts for the poor or building toilets in all houses, India has progressed a lot in every field in the last six years.”