PM Modi gives an indication of things to come: curbs on population explosion, cutting down on plastic use, drinking water for all

New Delhi: PM Modi’s Independence Day speech gave a sneak preview of what lies ahead – a better future for Kashmir, curbs on population explosion, cutting down on plastic use, drinking water for all, creation of a Chief of Defence Staff post and thrust on infrastructure.

The biggest take-away, of course, was the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff post -- a single point authority to synergize the working of the three services with the overall defence establishment.

The pièce de résistance of the speech was of course his reference to the scrapping of the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. Indians can now say with pride 'One Nation, One Constitution', PM Modi declared with aplomb, adding that Sardar Patel's dream of one Bharat has been realised.Addressing

the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, with a colourful safa tied round his head, Modi said that in his first term he brought the country back on track, and "it is moving fast".

But his new mandate is to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the people of a 21st century, of a country that can soar high. "In the next five years we will take the country forward, we are fulfilling the works one by one.

Modi, whose speech lasted over one and a half hours, said his government's policy is not to side-step problems or allow them to fester.

For the first time, he touched on the burgeoning population, which stands at 1.3 billion, and said those who have small families are exhibiting a kind of patriotism.Population explosion would cause many problems for future generations.

"But there is a vigilant section of public which stops to think, before bringing a child into the world, whether they can do justice to the child, give them all that she or he wants.

They have a small family and express their patriotism to the country. Let's learn from them. There is need of social awareness."On bringing drinking water to every home, Modi said that women in many parts of rural India spend many precious hours trudging kilometres to fetch water.

He announced a Jal Jeevan Mission to realise the vision of Har Ghar Jal, or drinking water to every home, with an allocation of Rs 3,59,000 crore. Modi also asked citizens to adopt water conservation in the way in which they adopted the Swachh Bharat campaign.

On eliminating the use of plastic, which is recognised as a global menace, Modi said single-use plastic poses a grave threat to the environment.

"The time for implementing such an idea has come. Teams must be mobilised to work in this direction. A significant step must come out by October 2,"

he said.Modi spoke on promoting digital payments, and suggested that shopkeepers can have a board saying 'yes' to digital payment and 'no' to cash payment.On agriculture, he suggested that farmers should minimise the use of chemical-based fertilizers.

Touching on the economy, which is witnessing a slowdown in some sectors, the Prime Minister said his government will invest Rs 100 lakh crore on developing modern infrastructure that will aid in nearly doubling the size of the Indian economy to $5 trillion in the next five years."We cannot make incremental changes anymore. We should take high leaps, now.’’

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