Also see: PM's I-Day Speech
In his maiden speech from Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced disbanding of Planning Commission, a socialist-era vestige, declared his intent to carry the opposition along and called for a moratorium on caste and communal violence.
Less than three months after coming to power, he unveiled his ideas of development and boosting the economy, saying India should become a base for global manufacturing.
He came out with a scheme for financial inclusion of the poor by providing them with bank accounts with built-in insurance of Rs one lakh and announced an 'MP Model Village Scheme' under which each Member of Parliament will adopt one village every year and develop it.
In his 65-minute extempore speech in Hindi on the Independence Day, Modi asked maoists and terrorists to shun the path of violence and join the national mainstream.
He denounced the growing incidents of rape as well as the practice of female foeticide while hailing the role of girls.
The Prime Minister stressed on eliminating the problem of open defecation by providing toilets, including in schools, in which corporates would be involved.
Outlining his economic agenda, he said the Planning Commission, a 64-year-old Soviet style body, will be replaced with a new institution keeping in view the changed economic situation internally and globally.
"If we have to take India forward, then states will have to be taken forward. The importance of federal structure is more today than it was in last 60 years...We will very soon set up a new institution in place of Planning Commission," he said.
Talking about putting in place a new structure soon, Modi said it will bring in creativity besides fresh ideas, thinking and hopes by utilising to the optimum level public-private partnership and youth power.
Under the financial inclusion scheme named 'Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana', Modi said poor families will be given a bank account, a debite card and an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.
The Prime Minister declared that he would like to run the country on the basis of consensus and not on majority in Parliament.
Speaking from the podium without the usual bullet proof shield, Modi asserted that he was speaking not as the Prime Minister but as "prime servant".
He made a special mention of the services rendered by his predecessors and former governments for the country's development.
Seeking the cooperation of all political parties and pledging to take their help, he referred to the Parliament session that concluded yesterday, saying "it was a reflection of our thinking and intention to move forward not on the basis of majority but on the basis of strong foundation of consensus.
"You must have seen that by taking all parties, including opposition, along we achieved unprecedented success. The credit for it does not go just to the Prime Minister or the government but also to opposition, its leaders and each of its MPs. I salute all MPs and leaders of parties with whose help we ended this first session with success."
In an apparent reference to recent incidents in some parts of the country, the Prime Minister said communalism and castism are an obstacle in the country's progress.
"We see violence on the basis of religion and caste. How long? Who is benefiting? We have fought enough, killed enough. If you look back, you will find that nobody has gained anything.... It took us to even partition.
"I appeal that for the sake of country's progress, there should be a 10-year moratorium on violence, at least for once, so that we are free from these ills. We should have peace, unity and harmony. Please believe my word, if we give up the path of violence and adopt the path of brotherhood, we will make progress," he said.
Referring to terrorism and naxalism, Modi again wondered how long the violence would continue. "You will get nothing," he told the misguided youth.
He cited the example of Nepal where Maoists have shunned the path of violence after a decade-long armed struggle and joined the political mainstream and nation-building.
"They (maoists) have given up arms and are now waiting for a new Constitution. It is an example of inspiration for the misguided youth.. It is high time that misguided youth renounce violence and take the path of peace," said Modi who recently visited Nepal.
Expressing serious concern over rape incidents, he said, "our heads hang in shame when we hear about such incidents" and attacked politicians who become "psychologists" by trying to "analyse" reasons for the crime.
"In every home, parents ask daughters many questions as to where she is going and what she is doing. But do they ask the same thing to their sons? Rapists are also somebody's sons. He also has parents. If only restrictions are also put on sons, there will be no rapists, no maoists and no terrorists.
"Law will do its work but the society has also to contribute," he said, adding it is the social duty of parents.
Modi said every terrorist and maoist is somebody's son who is bent on spilling blood.
"Instead of carrying a gun on his shoulder and make the land red, they (maoists and terrorists) should carry a plough and make the land green," he said.
He also expressed concern over the skewed sex ratio and deplored the practice of foeticide and the attitude of doctors to make money by doing so.
Calling himself an "outsider" to Delhi, the former Gujarat Chief Minister said in two months of coming to power, he has got an "insider view" in the functioning of the government.
Making it clear that his comments should be not be seen from a political prism, Modi said he was "surprised" to see that "within a government, there were dozens of governments."
"People used to consider departments as their personal fiefdom. I saw there was disintegration and fights between departments. These fights landed up in the Supreme Court. How can you go forward in this situation?
"I have started demolishing these walls to ensure that the government is one entity. The government has to move with one idea, one direction and one view," he said.
Modi announced a series of initiatives aimed at empowering the common man, and unleashing the potential of India's youth.
He said a nationwide "Skill India" movement will be initiated to provide skills which ensure employability.
The Prime Minister spoke of his vision "Come and Make in India" inviting manufacturers from across the world to invest here and help boost industrial growth.
He called upon the youth of India to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit and work towards manufacturing in India, the various items that add to our import bill. "Let 'Made in India' become a synonym of excellence," he added.
Emphasising that digital infrastructure is a priority to empower citizens, Modi announced his Government's resolve to work towards 'Digital India', which would provide information and services to the people in a timely and effective manner.
Stressing on the need for cleanliness, the Prime Minister declared the government's resolve for "Swachh Bharat" (clean India)– a scheme which will be launched on October 2 this year, to be accomplished by 2019, on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In a related initiative, the Prime Minister said the first step towards "Swachh Bharat" begins with immediate effect, through a commitment to build toilets in all schools, including separate toilets for girls, within one year.
The Prime Minister announced the launch of the 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana', under which each MP would be invited to make one model village in his constituency, by 2016.
A complete blueprint for this scheme would be announced on October 11, the birth anniversary of' Jayaprakash Narayan, he said.
Also see: PM's I-Day Speech
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