On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will touch upon a series of achievements of the government in his Independence Day speech, including the management of the covid-19 pandemic, measures to boost domestic manufacturing as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, steps to revive the economy with a focus on migrant workers and the new National Education Policy 2020, said four government officials, requesting anonymity.
This will be Modi’ first Independence Day address after the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, which was high up in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto for nearly three decades.
However, measures to contain the pandemic and related developments may dominate the Prime Minister’s speech considering that it has hit the nation hard.
“PM Modi may talk about the probable launch of an indigenous vaccine or procurement of vaccines developed and manufactured elsewhere. As the healthcare sector has been at the forefront during the pandemic, he may also announce some schemes for healthcare workers,” one of the persons said.
Tensions with China will also be on the agenda. So far, New Delhi and Beijing have failed to reach a consensus and India remains on high alert since the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops in a violent clash in Galwan on 15 June.
“The Prime Minister is likely to emphasize on ‘vocal for local’ to boost local manufacturing and job creation as part of the Centre’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan,” said a second official.
“With the steps announced by the defence ministry there is likely to be a reference to the opportunities for the private sector to participate in a big way in the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme… There is now a separate head in the budget for procurement from the private sector,” said a third person.
In view of the job losses amid covid-led economic slowdown , Modi will also try to allay the masses.
“The Prime Minister is expected to talk about universal social security, and highlight the Centre’s effort to provide jobs to migrant workers by merging a set of programmes. He may also stress the skill-mapping exercise undertaken by the Centre to match workers with firms looking for skilled labourers,” said a fourth official.
Prashant K. Nanda, Asit Ranjan Mishra, Elizabeth Roche, Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Neetu Chandra Sharma and Utpal Bhaskar from New Delhi contributed to the story.