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(Source: The Financial Express)

Ending ‘Triple Talaq’ to ‘Modicare’ – 5 promises Narendra Modi made in his Independence Day speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth speech from Red Fort was delivered in his characteristic style.

His last I-Day speech before seeking a fresh mandate in 2019, Modi utilised the occasion of India’s 72nd Independence Day to remind people of the achievements of his government in the last four years and make new promises.

PM Modi also highlighted the achievements in areas like toilet coverage, LPG coverage, electrification, optical fibre networks till 2013 (during previous UPA regime) and tried to establish that his time in the prime minister’s office was effective and full of purpose.

Modi referred to decisions like ‘One Rank, One Pension’ for armed forces, GST, Insolvency and Banking reforms, Surgical Strikes among others by saying, “Kade faisle lene ka samarthya rakhte hain (we have guts to take firm decisions).” The statement was seen as a bid to convey that his government was brave enough to resolve matters which were left hanging for a long time.

He said that government’s efforts have freed corridors of power from brokers, enhanced the number of taxpayers and saved Rs 90,000 crore by eliminating bogus beneficiaries. Modi also thanked honest taxpayers for their contribution to the development of the country, which is now the world’s sixth largest economy.

He said 13 crore Mudra loans have been provided so far, which is contributing towards job creation and also cited improvement in India’s ranking on the ease of doing business and praise from various international organisations.

While all of this has been done and is in the past, what matters is how and by when Modi government aims to deliver what the prime minister promised in his final Independence Day speech before next year’s Lok Sabha elections. There is no denying that the prime minister remains confident of his party’s chances as he never mentioned ‘if we win or stay in power’ in his speech – when talking about the plans to unfurl the tricolour in space by 2022 or in his promise to double farmers’ income by the same year. As people are starting to question when the ‘Achhe Din’ will come, the list of promises continues to grow.

Here is a look at 5 promises made by PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech –
1. End Triple talaq

In a bid to strengthen BJP’s appeal, PM Modi highlighted that the government is committed to bringing in a law banning the practice of instant triple talaq, even as “some people” are stalling its passage in Parliament. “The practice of Triple Talaq has caused great injustice to Muslim women. We are striving to end this practice but there are some people who are not wanting it to end. I promise the Muslim women that I will work to ensure justice is done to them,” he said.

The bill criminalising the practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat and seeks a prison term of up to three years for men is pending approval in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP is in a minority. He said the government had once again pushed for the passage of the bill in the Monsoon Session.

2. Farmers income to double by 2022

PM Modi promised to double farmers’ income by 2022 and said that a new agriculture export policy will be unveiled soon to boost the process. Modi spelt out pro-farm measures taken during four years of his government, the cornerstone being the bold move to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of crops at least 1.5 times of the cost of production.

“The demand for higher MSP was pending for years. From farmers to political parties to agriculture experts, everybody was asking about it but nothing happened. We decided that farmers should get 1.5 times more price than their cost of production and implemented the decision,” he said.

3. Modicare

The Prime Minister announced that the government will launch the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat) on September 25 this year which aims to provide healthcare initiatives to about 50 crore Indians. “It is essential to ensure that we free the poor of India from the clutches of poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare,” PM Modi said.

The scheme aims to target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, and will cover around 50 crore people.

4. Permanent Women’s Commission in armed forces

One of the biggest promises from the prime minister came for the women officers commissioned in short services. He said that these officers will soon get the opportunity for permanent commission like their male counterparts.

Referring to Indira Banerjee’s appointment to Supreme Court, PM Modi said that he is proud of the fact that three women judges are delivering justice in apex court now. “Since independence, this is the first cabinet where so many women are a part of the cabinet,” he said.

5. On Kashmir

The prime minister said that his party wants to follow the path of peace and not bullets in Kashmir. He said that in next few months, panchayat elections will be held in Kashmir and people of the region will get a chance to claim their right. He said that even North Eastern states like Tripura, Meghalaya and many parts of Arunachal Pradesh are seeing historic peace.

“From 126, Left Wing Extremism is restricted to 90 districts. We are working to ensure peace across the nation,” the PM said.

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