Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation during the 70th Independence Day main function at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: Giving a clarion call to ‘reform, perform and transform’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his third Independence Day said that the Government has to be sensitive, responsible, accountable, transparent and efficient to complete the journey from ‘Swarajya’ (self-governance) to ‘Suraj’ (good governance).
He announced a 20-per cent hike in the pension for freedom fighters and said museums would be built in several states to glorify the role of "lesser-known" people from tribal communities who contributed for the freedom struggle.
Coming up with innovative campaigns has been Mr Modi's forte during Independence Day speeches. While in his first ever address two years back, Mr Modi had given a call for Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, in his second Independence Day speech last year, he had announced the ‘Start-Up India Stand-Up India’ campaign.
On Monday Mr Modi also announced that medical expenses of up to Rs 1 lakh for BPL families will be borne by the government. Commenting on the attacks on the recent attacks on Dalits and Muslims by the fringe Hindutva elements. Social evils will have to be dealt with "sternly" and with "sensitivity" as survival of the society is impossible if there is no social unity.
The Prime Minister said, "the Government is taking steps to increase the pension for freedom fighters by 20 per cent. So those who are receiving Rs 25,000, will now get Rs 30,000. This is a small act of reverence on my behalf."
Hitting out at the previous UPA government, Mr Modi said his Government is "surrounded by expectations as against the previous regime which was surrounded by allegations".
He stressed on delivery and implementation of programmes, saying mere announcements or budgetary allocations no longer satisfy people.
Listing an example of "increased efficiency" under his government, Mr Modi said the process of issuing passports, which used to take 4 to 6 months, now takes only a couple of weeks and the need of recommendations has been done away with.
"In 2015-16 alone, we issued 1.75 crore passports," he said. He said the NDA government has tried to complete projects which were initiated during the tenure of the previous government.