NEW DELHI:In his maiden speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that he was an “outsider” to Delhi and wanted to work as pradhan sevak. A year later, rattling off numbers, he gave a report card of what all his government has managed to achieve, set new targets and repeated his promise to do what he still could not.
On a muggy Saturday morning, Modi arrived at the 17th-century fort to unfurl the Tricolour to mark the 69th Independence Day.
Dressed in mustard-yellow-coloured kurta, jacket and an orange turban, he made the poor, farmers and marginalised the focus of his speech as he said schemes like Jan Dhan Yojna and Bima Yojna had benefited crores. Apparently to address the fallout of the anti-Land Bill agitation, he stressed on farmers’ welfare and said the Ministry of Agriculture would be renamed as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. But what he left unanswered was the announcement on ‘one-rank, one-pension’. Modi said it is the one thing he has not been able to accomplish, but assured something useful will come out soon. Protesting ex-servicemen, who were hoping for a time-bound announcement, later declared that they would intensify their agitation.
‘Team India’ and ‘125 crore Indians’ became the buzzwords in Modi’s 85-minute speech as he used the terms over two-dozen times. But his new mantra to boost employment announced in the speech was “Start up India, Stand up India”.
Outlining the road map of the NDA government to boost the younger generation’s entrepreneurial skills, Modi said each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches should encourage at least one Dalit or Adivasi entrepreneur
and at least one woman entrepreneur in starting a new initiative. “We are looking at systems for enabling start-ups. We must be the number one in start-ups. Start-up India, Stand-up India,” he declared. The initiative would help in setting up a network of start-ups in the country, and as part of the Skill India and Digital India initiatives would generate jobs. He added that he would like to address the “disease” of interview-based selections for low-skilled government jobs as it breeds corruption.