Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a new National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), and outlined a growing need for an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' as part of his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. He laid out the outline that the nation would have to adopt for the next two years; till the end of India's 75th year of independence (2022). The prime minister also laid out the plans of tomorrow, including a connectivity push for villages, and for the remote Lakshadweep Islands.
Along with the the NDHM, he also said that three vaccines against COVID-19 were in the works and are in various stages of development.
This was Prime Minister Modi's seventh Independence Day address, which has often been a platform for policy and directional announcements such as the Swacch Bharat Mission, the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff, the Jan Dhan Yojana and the abolishing of the Planning Commission.
Here are the top announcements made in this year's Independence Day Speech.
As India continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the prime minister took the opportunity to launch a new NDHM, under which every Indian would get a national digital health ID. This ID would be one's personal health account serving as a consolidated location holding one's health records, doctor visits and prescriptions and all other health related information.
This is based on the National Digital Health Mission blueprint released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare last year.
The prime minister also briefed the nation that there are three vaccines in the works and are in various stages of development. Once they get a green flag medically, the government has also put a plan in place to produce them at scale.
"Till when will we send raw materials abroad, and buy finished goods in return?", asked Modi, as he made a pronounced push for an 'Aatmanirbhar', or self-reliant India, stating that India would have to work on multiple fronts to achieve this.
He said that the push does not only involve reducing imports, but also increase our creativity and skills and human resources, which imports tend to diminish. Indians would also have to be 'vocal for local', and work toward value-adding in the global supply chain.
A self-reliant mindset would also be essential in defence, after India imposed an import restriction on 101 defence products which would be substituted with local alternatives, where he also lauded the local aircraft 'Tejas', and during the ongoing pandemic where India has produced its own personal protective equipment (PPE), N95 masks, and ventilators, he said.
The prime minister announced a connectivity push for villages and rural areas, setting a 1,000 day deadline for 6 lakh villages to receive optical fiber in India. He also cited his recent recent inauguration of such a line in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, on the basis of which he has announced the same deadline to connect Lakshadweep with an optical fiber connection.
He also confirmed that a new cyber security policy was in the works.
Jammu and Kashmir
Today marks his second Independence Day address since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A last year.
Modi reiterated that a delimitation exercise was in the works, where the people of Jammu and Kashmir would soon be able to elect their own MLAs. This is part of an ongoing stance of the central government where, after the former state of Jammu of Kashmir was bifurcated into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the government has stated that it intends on transitioning the UT of Jammu and Kashmir towards one with a legislature.
Also, with respect to Ladakh, the PM announced that just like Sikkim has an identity of an organic state attached to it, Ladakh (and the sector including Kargil and Leh) would have a carbon neutral identity.
A new lion and dolphin policy
In the latest step towards animal conservation, Prime Minister announced a new dolphin and lion policy.
These steps emulate the tiger conservation policies of the government adopted earlier, which Modi cited to be a success.
The dolphin policy would cover both freshwater and saltwater dolphins, which Modi said would enhance biodiversity, and would contribute towards tourism.
Updated On: 2020-08-18T18:07:02+05:30