President Droupadi Murmu addresses to the nation on the eve of the 76th Independence Day, in New Delhi. (PTI)
New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu said on Sunday India has helped the world to discover the true potential of democracy and the keyword for the country today was compassion for the downtrodden, the needy and those on the margins. In her maiden address to the nation on the eve of the nation’s Independence Day, as it celebrates 75 years of freedom, Ms Murmu said major economic reforms were being accompanied by innovative welfare initiatives and the world has seen "a new India rising in recent years, more so after the outbreak of Covid-19".
The President, in her 17-minute address, touched on several issues like the strength of Indian democracy, the scale of and success of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, physical and digital infrastructure development and complimented policymakers for ensuring the growth of the country that has become more inclusive with reduced regional disparities.
She said the success of start-ups, especially the growing number of unicorns, was a shining example of industrial progress and credited the Narendra Modi government and its policymakers for beating the global trend and helping the economy flourish.
In her address, the President said India’s new-found confidence stems from the spirit of its youth, its farmers, and above all, its women. The President said economic success was leading to the ease in living too as the reforms are rightly accompanied by innovative welfare initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission and Har Ghar Jal scheme.
She said stress on good governance is at the core of the transformation the country has been seeing in healthcare, education and the economy, as well as a number of other related areas.
The President said: "Our existence will become meaningful only in building a glorious India", and quoted a poem by Kuvempu: "I will pass/ So will you/But on our bones will arise the great tale of a new India."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hoist the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the ninth consecutive time, and then address the nation soon after hoisting the flag at 7 am Monday morning. The August 15 ceremony is particularly significant this year as it marks the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, with the government launching a host of exercises.
Mr Modi has often used the occasion to highlight key outcomes of his government’s policies and has made important announcements. Official sources said the Prime Minister is likely to announce a host of initiatives for the health sector on this Independence Day. The "Heal in India" and "Heal by India" projects and a roadmap to eliminate sickle cell disease by 2047 will likely be the highlight of Mr Modi’s announcements on the health sector initiatives, the sources said.
The inclusion of the Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV) against cervical cancer in the National Immunisation Programme and the expansion of the National Health Mission under a new name "PM Samagra Swasthya Mission" may also figure in Mr Modi’s speech from the Red Fort, said officials.
Under the "Heal in India" initiative that aims at positioning the country as a global hub for medical and wellness tourism, medical infrastructure at 37 hospitals in 12 states will be ramped up to boost medical tourism, the sources said.
Ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, security has been stepped up across the national capital, with over 10,000 personnel manning the Red Fort, from where the PM will address the country. From facial recognition system cameras to multi-layered security cover and the deployment of over 400 kite catchers and fliers, the security forces have left no stone unturned to ensure protection at the historic fort, where 7,000 invitees are expected to gather for the event.