Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 76th Independence Day, in New Delhi, Monday, Aug 15, 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 76th Independence Day, in New Delhi, Monday, Aug 15, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday enumerated the ‘Panch Pran’ (five pledges) that all citizens should take to contribute to India achieving the status of a developed nation by 2047, in the 100th year of its Independence.

Another highlight of the PM’s 82-minute-long address to the nation was his exhortation for a nationwide campaign against corruption and nepotism, which he defined as the two big challenges facing the country.

India is categorised variously as “Developing” (UN), “Low Middle Income Country” (World Bank) and “Emerging Economy” (IMF). These categorisations are based on a number of factors, including our human development indicator and per capita income .

“We should focus on the five pledges -- a resolve for a developed India; removing any trace of the colonial mindset; taking pride in our legacy; our strength of unity; and fulfilling the duties of citizens with honesty, which should be done by the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers as well,” said the PM while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi on the 76th Independence Day.

With his government often accused by the Opposition of weakening states’ rights, he underlined his faith in cooperative federalism and the spirit of “team India“, saying that was what he practised when he was Gujarat Chief Minister and a different party (Congress) was in power at the Centre. “We may have different programmes and working styles, but our dreams for the nation are not different,” he said in an apparent appeal to the Opposition parties to work together to develop the country.

He said in this ‘Amrit Kaal’, every Indian is aspiring to see the fast progress of a new India with enthusiasm and impatience. “Our nation has proved that diversity is an inherent strength and the common thread of patriotism makes India unshakeable,” Modi said.

Research and innovation

The PM made a strong pitch for research and innovation, by adding ‘Jai Anusandhan’ to the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyaan.’  The PM had first given the slogan ‘Jai Anusandhan’ at the Indian Science Congress in Jalandhar in January 2019.

He hailed the Digital India movement, saying innovations such as UPI BHIM have taken the fin-tech world by storm. “Look at the power of our innovation. Forty per cent of financial digital transactions in the world take place in India,” he said.

India will soon step into the 5G era, and it has also made rapid strides in laying optic fibre. “The dream of a Digital India will be realised through a transformation in the villages,” he said.

The Digital India movement will power big changes in education, healthcare and every other aspect of life in the coming decade. “A new world is emerging. India will play a key role in this. The coming decade will prove to be a techade for humankind. This decade of technology is India‘s ‘techade’. We have proved ourselves in the field of technology,” Modi said.

The PM said an aspirational society was India’s biggest asset. “It is our endeavour that the youth of the country get all the support for research in all areas, from space to the depths of the ocean. That is why we are expanding our Space Mission and Deep Ocean Mission. The solution to our future lies in the depths of space and the ocean,” he said.

Corruption & nepotism

Highlighting the need to target corruption & nepotism, he said, “Corruption is eating the country like termites and we have to fight it with our full might. It is our endeavour that those who have looted the country, have to return it.” The PM said the need of the hour is for people to develop a feeling of ‘nafrat’ (hatred) for corruption and the corrupt.

Also hitting out at dynastic politics and nepotism, he said their presence in politics nourished this “evil” in all other institutions of the country. This must be ended, he said.

“Nepotism harms India‘s talents and capabilities. That is also a reason for corruption as people resort to it when they see no other option,” he said, seeking awareness against this to rid India‘s institutions of these evils for their bright future,” he said, underlining that he considered it his constitutional and democratic responsibility to fight these evils and sought the people’s support and mandate in this crusade.

“In politics too, dynasties have done the most injustice to the country’s strength. Dynastic politics is aimed at a family’s welfare and has no interest in the country’s welfare,” he said, asking people to join him in “purifying” Indian politics and its institutions to take the country forward.