New Delhi : The following are the highlights of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s address to the nation on Independence Day:
* Warns hoarders and black marketeers
* No one will go hungry
* No need to panic in the face of H1N1 flu. No disruption of daily lives.
* Will ensure that benefits of development reach all sections of society and all regions and citizens of the country
* Every citizen of India should be prosperous and secure and be able to lead a life of dignity and self respect
* Restoring growth rate to 9 percent is the greatest challenge we face. We expect that there will be an improvement in the situation by the end of this year
* Appeal to businessmen and industrialists to join in effort to tackle difficult situation and fulfil their social obligations
* This year, there has been deficiency in the monsoon. We will provide all possible assistance to our farmers to deal with the drought
* Date for repayment of farmers’ bank loans postponed. Additional support given to farmers for payment of interest on short term crop loans
* We have adequate stocks of foodgrain. All efforts will be made to control rising prices of foodgrain, pulses and other goods of daily use
* Country needs another Green Revolution. the goal is four percent annual growth in agriculture; achievable in the next five years.
* Food security law to be enacted under which every below poverty line family will get a fixed amount of foodgrain every month at concessional rates
* Special care to be taken of needs of women and children. Benefit of ICDS to be extended to every child below the age of six by March 2012
* NREGA programme to be improved to bring in more transparency and accountability
* Right to Education Act enacted, funds will not be a constraint
* Special attention to be given to the needs of disabled children
* Secondary education will be expanded to ensure that every child in the country benefits
* Bank loans and scholarships to be provided to the maximum number of students
* New scheme to help students from economically weaker sections get educational loans at reduced interest rates; will benefit about five lakh students in technical and professional courses
* National Rural Health Mission to be expanded to cover every family below the poverty line
* Additional funds allocated for Bharat Nirman; programmes for the development of rural and urban areas to be speeded up
* Accelerated efforts to improve physical infrastructure; construction of 20 km of national highways every day
* Railways have started work on dedicated freight corridors
* Road, rail and civil aviation projects being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states will be specially monitored.
* Rajiv Awas Yojna being launched to make the country slum free
* India will meet the challenge of climate change through eight national missions
* Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, aimed at increasing the use of solar energy and making it affordable, will be launched on Nov 14
* Need a new culture of energy conservation.
* More attention to programmes for water collection and storage. “Save Water” should be one of our national slogans
* Government should be sensitive to people’s complaints and dissatisfaction but nothing is achieved by destroying public property and indulging in violence. The government will deal firmly with people who indulge in such acts
* Security forces being constantly upgraded to root out terrorism.
* Redoubled efforts to deal with militant activities. Will extend all help to the state governments to make their police forces more effective.
* Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the power of our democracy
* Will endeavour to remove those causes of social and economic dissatisfaction which give rise to problems like Naxalism
* Seek active partnership of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the development process
* Schemes for the welfare of the minorities to be taken forward
* Funds enhanced substantially for special schemes for development of districts with concentration of minorities
* Bill to prevent communal violence has been introduced in parliament and efforts will be made to convert it into a law as soon as possible
* Female foeticide is a shame on all of us. We must eliminate it as early as possible
* Government is committed to the early passage of the Women’s reservation bill
* Working on legislation to provide 50 percent reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies.
* National Female Literacy Mission to be launched; aims to reduce female illiteracy by half in three years
* Recommendations of the committee on ex-servicemen’s pensions accepted; this will benefit 12 lakh retired soldiers and JCOs
* Will take care of the special needs of the backward regions with redoubled efforts to remove regional imbalances
* Government constantly endeavouring to make the northeastern states equal partners in the country’s progress; without their well-being, the country cannot move forward
* There have been two elections in Jammu and Kashmir in the past year – for the state assembly and the Lok Sabha – with the people participating vigorously. This is proof that there is no place for separatist thought in the state
* Will endeavour to ensure that human rights are respected in Jammu and Kashmir and all its citizens are able to live in peace and dignity in an environment of safety and security
* Want to live in peace and harmony with our neighbours. Will make every possible effort to create an environment conducive to the social and economic development of the whole of South Asia.
* Benefits of good programmes will not reach the people till the government machinery is corruption free. Public administration to be more efficient.
* Need to improve delivery systems to provide basic services to citizens
* Renewed efforts to decentralize public administration through Panchayati Raji institutions and to ensure greater involvement of people
* Initiative will be taken for a new partnership between civil society and the government so that tax payers’ money is better spent
* Right to Information Act to be improved to make it is more effective and enhance accountability and transparency
* Special efforts to strengthen administrative machinery for rural programmes
* Unique Identification Authority of India set up. First set of identity numbers expected to be available in the next one to one-and-a-half years
* Nation building will be our highest duty.