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74th Independence Day - India, Neighbourhood and World (15 August 2020)

74th Independence Day - India, Neighbourhood & World (15 August 2020)

Why in News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the nation from the majestic Red Fort on the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day.

Context:

In the one-hour 26-minute speech, he focused on the themes of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat", "Vocal for local" and "Make in India to Make for World". He also paid tribute to those on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus and declared that India had a roadmap ready for the production and distribution of three COVID-19 vaccines that are at various stages of testing. This is PM Modi's seventh consecutive Independence Day speech, and second since his BJP-led NDA swept to a second term in power in Lok Sabha elections last year.

Background:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a sharp message to two of India’s neighbours, China and Pakistan, declaring that the armed forces deployed along the borders with the two countries have given a fitting reply to those who sought to challenge India’s sovereignty.

Like in previous years, PM did not name Pakistan, or China. But as he wrapped up his speech that had extensively focused on the campaign to build a self-reliant India, the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort underlined that the country’s sovereignty is supreme.

Summary of the Debate

Major announcements:

  • PM launched the National Digital Health Mission, to bring a revolution in the country’s health sector.
  • Turning India into a $5-trillion economy within five years.
  • PM announced the creation of a new post of chief of defence staff to ensure the better coordination of the army, navy and air force, along the lines of western military forces.
  • New Cyber Security Policy to be unveiled soon.
  • Ladakh to be a Carbon-neutral region.
  • Government's scheme to provide sanitary napkins at Rs 1.
  • To connect India's over six lakh villages with optical fibre network in the next 1000 days.
  • Investment of Rs 100 lakh crore on infrastructure projects.

Challenges:

  • Income side of the economy is not in the good shape.
  • As far as the components related to solar panels are concerned, in the last few decades India’s dependence on China has increased.
  • Poor Infrastructure.
  • Rigid labour Laws.
  • complexities at policy making level.
  • Problems in land acquisition.
  • Absence of single window clearance of projects and inadequate funding.

                   From LOC to LAC, India's sovereignty is supreme, says Modi – India ...

Way Forward:

  • Central government has changed lots of laws but what matters is behaviour of the frontline bureaucracy, what is happening at local level is very important for the investors where India is lacking as of now. So, the state governments really need to change their laws, modernise their laws and modernise the frontline bureaucracy.
  • Making investment in research and innovation.
  • Research and innovation does not come simply by buying technology, the technology is ultimately about human being i.e. how much a country has invested in human resource, how much it has educated its workforce. So, that is where India needs to focus on.
  • Manufacturing can grow in the country when it has sufficient aggregate demand but now income side of the economy is not looking good. So, it’s only when company operate in a domestic market which has high demand only then they become competitive and they go out in the world and start competing with the International competitors.
  • PM in his speech focussed on Cyber optics cable network, that is reaching up to the rural level, so thinking about the integrated infrastructure plan and not thinking about the cyber connectivity and 5G is not going to work these days, so bringing that portion in that itself is a way forward.
  • PM spoke about the social exclusion and the regional exclusion; there are certain region and certain community which are excluded from development process. Unless we do not bring those regions and communities in this vision for development, that is not going to work out.
  • The greatest takeaway was the announcement of the National health id card and also the announcement of the water connectivity, the water tap which will be provided. Taking together the proper sanitation, clean drinking water and accessibility to healthcare will be the greatest transformation.
  •  Before becoming ‘Vishwaguru’, India should become ‘Vishwashramik’ , so country must invest in labour force, education and it’s time to have world class labour force which can produce world class products.

Important points made by the Guests

Ashok Tandon, Senior Journalist

  • The biggest takeaway of today’s address was PM Narendra Modi Doctrine on the neighbourhood.
  • In the last 74 years no PM has defined neighbourhood the way PM has defined today. He is today talking in terms of expanding India’s neighbourhood right from West Asian countries, and Southeast Asian Countries. 
  • He talked about cooperation which India and Indians got during corona pandemic in the Gulf region, where thousands of thousand Indians are working. Similarly he talked about Southeast Asian Countries where India has religious and cultural ties over the century.
  • He talked about terrorism and expansionism, India is fully capable of fighting these two menaces. Another very significant issue related to security was expanding NCC in 173 districts. In the border area and coastal area 1 lakh, NCC cadets would be raised and they will be trained; in land area by the Army, wherever there are air bases by the Air force and in the coastal areas by the Navy.
  • He talked about Island connectivity, Andaman & Nicobar has already been connected and now he talked about Lakshadweep.
  • The doctrine is not only economic development, not only social cooperation but also relating to wider perspective of National security.
  • The one major and significant announcement was that after delimitation is over in J & K and Ladakh, the political process will start. In that context, he praised the local self-government.
  • PM mentioned for the first time that, the FDI in India crossed all records and that he said in the context of Aatmanirbhar Bharat because whatever we are now pushing is for global goods, the welfare of the entire international community and the defence production cooperation.
  • Making India self-reliant or Aatmanirbhar Bharat will not only help grow us strong internally and in the neighbourhood but also being recognised by the entire international community.
  • Apart from announcing lots of schemes, one significant scheme which PM mentioned was water. He said, now there is cooperative and competitive federalism amongst states and other stakeholders, who implemented the PM’s mission of drinking water supply and he said one lakh families are being supplied pure drinking water every day and 2 crore families have already got it.

Prafulla Ketkar, Editor, Organiser

  • To provide substance to the idea of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ does not mean protectionism and restricting all kinds of inputs, the term PM used is very important for the make in India, at the same time made for the world.
  • Strengthening domestic industry and promoting local goods is one thing and at the same time integrating world for the larger cause as well as playing the larger role as a global power is another thing.
  • In this context, his important reference to Maharishi Aurbindo is very critical because he was first person after independence who articulated idea about India as a ‘Jagatguru’ and it was not mean to just spiritual power but it was meant to be righteous power and that righteousness had to be define someday.
  • Today PM spoke about sanitary pads, that is the good important point because talking about women empowerment in such language is important.
  • The way PM brought in the idea related to one project Asiatic lion and along with it project Dolphin is also important takeway.
  • Taking cyber connectivity to all villages is another important commitment.

Abhinav Prakash, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi   

  • Regarding making India the hub of global production and in the context of going local for manufacturing, the production process has changed in the last two or three decades, the production process are so complex even in the manufacturing of car or any machinery or aeroplanes, no one country can specialize in producing all the components.
  • In 1980s, if anybody making a car he can produce the entire structure from small components in a single factory, but now that is no longer possible.
  • We cannot become the hub of the manufacturing of ‘n’ product per se, but we need to integrate ourselves in global supply chain. We have to get into the parts and components production chain which spread across the globe.
  • We need to work very closely with other countries; we need to explore business opportunities; we need to help the like minded countries and reduce our dependence on hostile countries when it comes to the supply chain.
  • The Gulf countries and Africa offer a great opportunity for India, we need to work with the like minded countries to make sure that coordinated attempt to come out of this pandemic and its effect, because what one country does in the economy policy, not just the fiscal policy but also the monetary policy has a skill over impact on the other countries in the neighbourhood.

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