NEW DELHI -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, marked 71st Independence Day, by addressing the nation from the Red Fort, after unfurling the tricolor.
He commenced his speech with tributes to the freedom fighters and condoled the death of more than 70 children, who lost their lives so far, due to the alleged lack of oxygen at Baba Raghav Das Medical College (BRDMC) in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur.
Here are the highlights of the speech:
• "Few days back many of our innocent children died in a hospital. People of India stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected due to natural disasters and the tragedy in Gorakhpur," Prime Minister Modi said.
• He further talked about the heated Kashmir issue where he said that the Kashmir problem will not be solved by abuses or guns and it will be solved by hugging all Kashmiris. "There is no question of being soft on terrorism or terrorists," he added.
• Lauding the armed forces for launching surgical strike on Pakistan, PM Modi said, "The country's security remains our priority; our forces have always proved their mettle."
• He also announced the launch of a website honouring the winners of the gallantry awards.
• Prime Minister Modi spoke about Triple Talaq issue as well where he said, "I want to mention those women who have to suffer due to 'Tripe Talaq'- I admire their courage."
• January 1, 2018 will not be an ordinary day, those born in this century will start turning 18, 'Bhagya Vidhatas' of our country. "We must leave this 'Chalta Hai' ('Let it be') nature. We have to now think of 'Badal Sakta Hai' ('Change is possible'), it will help us progress as a nation," he asserted.
• Talking about the New India scheme, he said, "We have to take the country ahead with the determination of creating a New India. Everybody is equal in our nation, no one big or small. We together can bring a positive change in the nation."
• Prime Minister Modi also spoke about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was rolled out on the midnight of June 30 and July 1. "GST has shown the spirit of cooperative federalism. Nation has come together to support GST and role of technology has also helped," he said.
• Taking his address further, he talked about corruption and black money where he said, "Those who have looted the nation and looted the poor are not able to sleep peacefully today. Today we are celebrating the festival of honesty."
• "You will be happy to know that today we are not alone against our fight against terrorism, many countries supporting us actively," the Prime Minister said.
• "We can reach Mangalyaan within nine months, this is our capability, but one rail project was stuck for last 42 years," he added
• He further said that violence has no place in free India and the country will not accept violence in the name of faith.
• "In future digital currency will take the place of paper notes and hence we are determined to carry on with less cash economy. If we will be successful in Swach Bharat, it will rein in inflation and help the poor save money. The demonetisation move has helped banks lower interest rates," Prime Minister Modi added.
• He said that the aim is at lowering medical costs for poor and middle class. "Want to double farmer income by 2022 and also we aim to provide home, water and power to all poor people," the Prime Minister added.
• He asserted that India aims to be a terror, communal and caste-free nation.
• "Our aim is to build a new India where youth and women are able to achieve their dreams without any difficulty. Therefore, for 'Team India' this is the right time to start building 'New India'," Prime Minister Modi added.