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PM Modi's Independence Day Speech Could Be More About Politics and Less About Policy

What Modi will speak on tomorrow is anybody's guess. But there's an interesting pattern, and some common themes, one could observe from parsing his last four speeches.

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Updated:August 15, 2018, 7:30 AM IST
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PM Modi's Independence Day Speech Could Be More About Politics and Less About Policy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the nation from the historic Red Fort during Independence Day celebrations in Delhi, India August 15, 2018.
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In about 24 hours from now Narendra Modi will deliver his final I-Day speech, in the current term as Prime Minister, from the ramparts of Red Fort.

Modi has announced some of the biggest schemes and catchy policies during his annual Independence Day addresses. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Make in India, Start-up and Stand-up India, One Rank One Pension (OROP), electrification of villages, and the replacement of Planning Commission with Niti Aayog, were all announced by PM Modi in his August 15 speeches.

For these reasons, this August 15 speech won't just be important considering the policy announcements he may make, but significant considering its political potential.

What Modi will speak on Wednesday is anybody's guess. But there's an interesting pattern, and some common themes, one could observe from parsing his last four speeches.

The themes of agriculture and farmers, casteism, crackdown on black money and new economic policies are common in all his speeches.

Let's take a brief look at the highlights of his last four I-Day speeches.

2014

On assuming PM's chair, Modi delivered his first I-Day speech which was lauded by supporters as well as critics for its boldness. I am here not as pradhan mantri (Prime Minister) but as pradhan sevak (prime servant in service of country), with this Modi launched into his speech.

Clean India

I don't know whether people will appreciate me talking about dirt and toilets from Red Fort but I come from a poor family...I urge all MPs to spend one year's funds to construct toilets...We should ensure that every road, school, office, locality and neighbourhood is clean... It is a shame that our women have to wait for darkness to go out in the open to defecate.

Village Adoption Scheme for MPs

Today I announce a scheme in the name of Parliament. A scheme for villages. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana...If we want to develop India, we need to develop villages...By the end of five years, each MP should have converted at least five villages into ideal villages.

10-year moratorium on all activities that promote communalism, casteism and regionalism.

Jan Dhan Yojana

Today our farmer commits suicide because he cannot repay his debt. We want to give the poor the benefit of bank accounts...Under the PM's jan dhan yojna, the poor will be given insurance through debit card for up to Rs 1 lakh...We want to integrate the poorest of the poor with bank accounts.

Make in India, Digital India

2015

Village Electrification

18,500 villages that are still without power to be provided electricity in the next 1,000 days...house and basic services like electricity for all by 2022.

Kisaan Kalyaan Mantralay (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer)

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana — the Prime Minister's agriculture and irrigation Scheme — launched with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore.

Start-up India, Stand up India

We are looking at systems for enabling start-ups. We must be Number 1 in start-ups.

One Rank One Pension

We are determined to implement OROP, but in the process none should be left out. Talks are on with the stakeholders. We want justice to be done to all sections and cases are pending for 35 to 40 years.

2016

On Pakistan

When innocent children were massacred in a school in Peshawar...in India, every school was weeping, there were tears in the eyes of every parliamentarian. That was a reflection of our human value, but look at the other side which glorifies terrorists.

Ease of Doing Business

In the past any businessman who wanted to invest in this country had to spend more than six months just registering his business. However, with this government we have simplified the procedure to an extent that in last July itself, 900 such registrations have taken place.

Abolishing interviews for Grade C and D employees

Rural Road Construction

Earlier, 55-77 km of rural roads used to be laid per day. Now we lay up to 100 km of rural roads a day

Development of Chabahar Port

When things like the coming together of Iran, Afghanistan and India come together for Chabahar port, then one can see the impossible becoming possible.

Inflation and the Poor Man's Thali

We haven’t allowed inflation to go beyond 6 per cent. There were two years of successive drought in the country. Production of pulses became a concern, but despite all that we tried our best to control the situation and compared to previous governments, I and my government did not allow the cost of a poor man’s thaali (plate) to be unaffordable.

Against Casteism

If society practices this discrimination it will break society. If discrimination is entrenched, our determination to fight it and our sensitivity to fighting it should be that much higher. Just economic progress is not enough, social equity is more important. We have to fight social evils together.

2017

On Gorakhpur hospital tragedy in which 70 children died of Encephalitis in one week

People of India stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected due to natural disasters and the great tragedy in Uttar Pradesh, where little, innocent children died in a hospital.

New India

I invoke Team India to run for a New India by 2022. By then the poor shall have concrete houses, the farmer shall double his income, youths and women will get ample opportunities, an India free of casteism, terrorism, corruption.

Cow Vigilantism

Violence in the name of faith is unacceptable...India is about peace, unity and amity.
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