66th Independence Day of India: PM unfurls tricolour flag at Red Fort

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurling
the Tricolour flag at the ramparts of Red Fort 
New Delhi: Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh unfurled the national tricoulour flag, at the ramparts of Red Fort on the 66th Independence Day of India. 

On his customary arrival at Lahore Gate of the Red Fort, Singh was received by Union Defence Minister AK Antony, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

Prime Minister then inspected the Guard of Honour, following which he addressed the nation, after unfurling the tricolor. 

While addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort Indian Prime Minister highlighted issues like inflation, poverty, national security, Lokpal and corruption.

Pledging to continue his fight against corruption and transparency in the system he hoped that all political parties will help the government in passing the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in Parliament.

"We will continue our efforts to bring more transparency and accountability in the work of public servants and to reduce corruption," Singh said. 

While doing so, we would be need to ensure that these measures do not result in a situation in which the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest gets affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation, he added.

Expressing concern over the issue of economic slowdown Prime Minister said the global economy is passing through a difficult phase. The pace of economic growth has come down in all countries of the world.

 “The European countries are estimated to grow at 0 percent this year, our country has also been affected by these adverse external conditions but we can hope a little better as last year our, GDP grew by 6.5 per cent,” Singh said.

“We cannot do much about the conditions that prevail outside our country. But we must make every effort to resolve the problems inside our country so that our economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities in the country are again speeded up, “he said.

He said time has now come to view the issues which affect our development processes as matters of national security. 

Singh said his government would make every possible effort to secure the livelihood of "our poor brothers and sisters, our workers and our farmers." 

He said the government will leave no stone unturned to encourage investment in the country so that entrepreneurs can make a substantial contribution to the economy. 

“I believe that this period of difficulties will not last long, even as we face these problems, we should be encouraged by the fact that we have achieved extraordinary successes in many areas in the last 8 years and now we need what to replicate these successes in newer areas,” Singh said.

Rural Electricity issue:
Manmohan Singh said when the UPA Government came to power in 2004, he had promised that he would provide electricity to all villages and to fulfill this promise his government has launched the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme.

“More than 1 lakh new villages have been provided with electricity connections under this scheme and now almost all the villages in the country have been electrified,” he said.

“Our next target is to provide electricity to each and every household in our country in the next 5 years and to also improve the supply of electricity,” he added.

PM ensures respite to Assam victims:  

Describing the recent incidents of violence in Assam as unfortunate, Singh said the government would do everything possible to provide relief to those affected. 

"I also promise to you that our government will make every effort to understand the reasons behind the violence and work hard with the state governments to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in any part of the country," he said. 

The Prime Minister also vowed to focus on improving the quality of education as he said, “In the next few months we will put in place a system of continuous assessment of the benefit our children are getting from teaching.”

“Participation of the community and parents would be ensured so that they can be satisfied with the quality of teaching,” he ensured.

Singh also praised government run Mid-day-meal programme.

“Mid day-meal scheme provides nutritious meals in schools for about 12 crore children everyday and this is the biggest scheme of its kind in the world,” he said.

Earlier, this year United Nations data has named India as the one of nation vastly devastated by malnutrition and poverty mentioning that while more than half of the nation’s population does not have the basic amenities like sanitation. 

“Malnutrition in children is a big challenge for us, we have taken steps in many dimensions to deal with this problem,” he said.

“In the last 8 years, the number of mothers and children benefitting from the ICDS has doubled, even the process of making the ICDS more effective is in its last stages and will be completed in the next 1 or 2 months,” he added.

Singh expressed that his government want to create many new job opportunities for youth in the coming years.   

“To achieve this it is necessary that we train them in skills which our economy needs, it is our endeavour to put in place a system in which training facilities are available in many new skills,” he said.

Praising the security system Manmohan Singh said success has been achieved in many areas of internal security. 

"In Jammu and Kashmir, people participated in large numbers in the Panchayat elections. There has been a reduction in violence in the northeastern states and we are engaged in dialogue with many groups there so that they can join the mainstream of development," he said. 

Singh said the government had initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by Naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people residing there, especially those belonging to Scheduled Tribes, can be removed. 

"However, we need to be constantly vigilant as far as internal security is concerned. Communal harmony has to be maintained at all costs. Naxalism is still a serious problem," Singh said. 

He said the incidents which occurred in Pune in the beginning of this month point to the need for much more work to be done in the area of national security. 

"We will continue to do this work with sincerity in the future also," he said. 

On the preparedness of the armed forces, the Prime Minister said that the soldiers have made biggest sacrifices whenever needed and defended the security of the country during war and peace with valour and honour. 

"Today I would like to reassure our countrymen that our armed forces and paramilitary forces are prepared to face any challenge," Singh said, adding that the government will continue to work for modernising these forces. 

He added that the government had also set up a committee to examine issues related to pay and pensions of the armed forces personnel and promised prompt action on its recommendations. 
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