New Delhi, Aug 15 : Following are the highlights of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh's, fifth Independence Day speech delivered from the ramparts of the historic Red fort on Friday morning.
The highlights of Dr. Singh's Independence Day speech are:
On Employment, Poverty and Economic growth
Employment generation is a key component of the Government.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill to be tabled in Parliament.
Eradicating poverty by creating jobs -a constant commitment
Country is witnessing unprecedented economic growth at present, and is likely to be similar this year as well.
Country has not witnessed such consistently high growth rates since 1996.
If current momentum of growth is maintained for next five to ten years, eradicating poverty, ignorance, hunger and disease is now a possibility, and not just a dream.
It is time to create history and build a new India, where no barriers between the Government and the people.
National Security and External Relations:
Reiteration of commitment to discussion and dialogue with all disaffected groups, if they renounce the path of violence. Doors are always open to anyone interested in dialogue.
Reaffirmation of commitment to fight terrorism. Pakistan must dismantle entire infrastructure of terrorism. Success of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus link shows way forward in Jammu and Kashmir.
Need for holistic response to extremism. Development and security are inter-linked. Assurance of life of dignity and self-respect for all people. Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) repealed.
India's firm commitment to make South Asia a region of peace and prosperity. Well-being and welfare of neighbours in India's interests. Warm greetings to people of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mauritius and Nepal.
Discussions proceeding on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
Movement forward in relations with all countries. Successful meetings last year with leaders of United States, Russia, European Union, Japan, China and several important and friendly countries. Summit meetings with leaders of United States, Russia, China and Japan have significantly improved bilateral relations, and strengthened India's global profile.
Success of Look East Policy in improving relations with countries of East and South-east Asia.
On initiatives for Rural India:
Krishi Vigyan Kendra to be created in every village.
National Rainfed Area Authority to be set up.
Funding for Bharat Nirman budgetary focus on outcome, not outlays alone.
Appeal to all political parties to address water issues from a national and holistic perspective.
Reiterates commitment to preserve environment and wildlife.
Revamping of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, to create jobs.
Social Welfare Initiatives:
Pension for Freedom Fighters.
Prime Minister's Scholarship Scheme for children of ex-servicemen and security personnel - 5000 children would be provided scholarships for college education every year.
Focus on elementary, secondary and higher education. New wave of development for old Universities in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
Development of sports - India to bid for Asian Games.
Focussed commitment to combat HIV/AIDS.
New 15-point programme for welfare and empowerment of Minorities.
Empowerment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes through investment in education, assurance of employment and tribal rights.
Empowerment of women - Legislation against domestic violence against women, legal protection of property rights.
Development programme for skill enhancement of artisans and weavers.
Six-lane Golden Quadrilateral to be launched.
High-speed rail freight corridor between Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata with Japanese aid.
Urban Renewal Fund with special focus on revitalization of Mumbai.
Development of non-metro urban centers.
World class airports to be built.
New thrust to civil nuclear energy development.
National Campaign for Cleanliness of villages, towns and cities to be launched.
National movement against wastage of water.
Review of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) complete. AFSPA to be made more humane to ensure protection to human rights.
Government to ensure that outlays of expenditure are visible to citizens as outcomes of progress.
National Disaster Management Authority created for handling of Tsunami and recent floods, including Mumbai.