Part-5 of text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address

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New Delhi, Aug 15 : Following is the fifth part of the text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address from the Red Fort on the occasion of the nation's 62nd Independence Day:

Brothers and Sisters,

Four years ago I said to you that an important challenge we face is the challenge of providing good governance. We have taken several steps to make government transparent, efficient and responsive. The Right to Information Act was one major step. We have initiated reform and modernization of Government. The National e-Governance Plan will make it easier for all our citizens to deal with the various agencies of Government.

We have completed the examination of the report of the Sixth Pay Commission. We have gone beyond the recommendations of the Commission in increasing emoluments of government employees. While doing this we have taken special care of the interests and welfare of our armed forces and paramilitary forces, and government employees working at lower levels in our civil services. This is one more step in making government more efficient.

We need more reforms at all levels of government. We want to improve our schools, our hospitals and other public services. The Panchayati Raj Institutions have an important role to play in decentralization and reform of Government. We must enhance their administrative and financial powers. I appeal to state governments to take all possible steps for improving governance and to help in the central government's initiatives.

My dear Countrymen,

Terrorism, extremism, communalism and fundamentalism have emerged as major challenges to the unity and integrity of our country. The recent terrorist attacks in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other parts of the country have shocked the nation. What words can I find to condemn such acts of barbarism. I share the sorrow and grief of people affected by terrorism. The government of India will take concrete steps to rehabilitate and help such families.

I commend our security forces and intelligence agencies for the dedication with which they are dealing with the problem under difficult circumstances. But I agree that we have to further strengthen our intelligence agencies and police forces to deal with the problem of terrorism.

We will examine the functioning of our intelligence agencies and police and security forces and take all possible steps to equip them to tackle this challenge. Whatever resources are required, will be provided. Whatever manpower is required will be provided. We are firm in our resolve to meet the challenge of terrorism.

I urge the state governments, all political parties, civil society groups and social and religious leaders to cooperate with us in rooting out terrorism from our country.

Brothers and Sisters,

I am confident that we will overcome these challenges. But this requires hard work and unity of purpose. This requires a politics of consensus, not confrontation. This requires dialogue among communities, not discord.

The challenge of communalism, of extremism and of terrorism cannot be won by a nation divided.

The challenge of environmental and ecological destruction cannot be won by a society divided.

The challenge of economic modernization and social development of all, of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, of Other Backward Classes and Minorities, cannot be won by a people divided.

ANI

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