Independence Day Celebrations 2009


Senior Member
Feb 23, 2009

Images from the Prime Minister's national address:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in blue turban, arrives to address
the nation on its 62nd Independence Day, at the Red Fort monument
in New Delhi. India, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009. AP /Gurinder Osan

Inspecting a guard of honour at the Red Fort in New Delhi.
An air defence mechanism was put in place around the 17th century
Mughal monument where a host of dignitaries, including ministers,
top military leadership and foreign diplomats, listened to his address.

The Prime Minister pays tribute to the memorial of the nation's father- Maha'atma Gandhi.

At the Red Fort on Saturday.

Mounted police participate in a function to mark India's 62nd Independence Day, in Guwahati, Assam, eastern India on Saturday.

Punjabi youth perform the traditional 'bhangra' in Amritsar on Friday.

Vendors sell Indian national flags to commuters on the eve of the country's Independence Day in Bangalore on August 14, 2009.

Motorcyclists hold flags as they ride in celebration of India's Independence Day at Futala Chowpati in Nagpur on August 14, 2009 on the eve of the national holiday. AFP

YouTube - 63rd Independence Day of India (August 15, 2009)

Confident Manmohan Singh says India headed to 'new glory'

New Delhi: Striking a positive note on India's 63rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday asserted that Indians had immense faith and confidence in themselves and the world's largest democracy was headed to a "new glory".

In his sixth consecutive address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister sought to allay fears emanating from the global economic meltdown, unending terrorism and the swine flu to assert that India had the strength and resilience to overcome all obstacles.

"Some people question whether India will ever be able to attain its true potential," Manmohan Singh said, as a slight drizzle accompanied his first Red Fort speech since he was voted back to office in May. "I have no doubt about this.

"We are rapidly moving forward. We have faith in ourselves. We have political stability. Our democracy is an example for the whole world. We are gaining in economic strength. Most importantly, we have confidence in our youth... I am sure that they will take our country to a new glory."

Speaking in Hindi from a prepared text, the 76-year-old scholar-politician referred to a wide range of issues from climate change and water shortage to economy, terrorism and a new world order. But his tone was positive and he vowed to return India to a 9 percent annual growth.

Around 700 invitees, including school children attired in the national tricolour as well as political VIPs and diplomats, packed the seated and open enclosure facing the Red Fort, the majestic Mughal-built 17th century monument that is at the heart of independence day celebrations.

"Going back to a 9 percent growth path is our greatest challenge. For this, we will take whatever steps that are required," the prime minister said in his Independence Day address to the nation from the majestic Red Fort.

"By the end of the year, I am confident there will be a major change. But till then, we all have to cope with the situation," he said in his sixth straight address laying down the agenda for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the coming year.

"I appeal to business leaders to work together in this endeavour and meet their social obligations and responsibilities."

According to Manmohan Singh, it was because of his government's policies that the country was able to grow at 6.7 percent in the last fiscal when the world was facing one of the worst downturns in eight decades.

Adequate spending on development

He said steps will be taken to ensure adequate spending on development projects to boost growth further and capital will be sought not only from domestic sources but from overseas as well.

"India can progress only when each Indian makes a contribution. Our endeavour has been to reach the fruits of development to every citizen. I know we have a long way to go."

The prime minister said he was also aware that high commodity prices were causing hardship to citizens, especially the poor. "We have enough food stocks. Every possible step will be taken to bring down prices," he said.

At the same time, he appealed to all state governments to use all administrative and legislative measures at their disposal to ensure that prices of essential commodities like cereals an pulses are brought down.

Drought will impact rural economy

Sending out a positive message on Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a new era of cooperation and harmony and pledged all possible government assistance to farmers to deal with drought and stepped up efforts to control spiralling prices. He said drought will impact rural economy this year.

The government would work for political stability and strengthening economy with an aim of marching towards "a golden future".

Asserting that the people had rejected sectarian politics and have "chosen a political arrangement which is secular", he called for "a new era of cooperation and harmony" and promised to take everyone along to create "an environment of consensus and cooperation".

No need to panic over swine flu

"You have entrusted a big responsibility on us and we humbly accept that and will fulfil it", he said.

Talking about problems like drought, economic crisis and swine flu facing the country, he sought to allay concerns.

There was no need to panic in the face of swine flu and daily life should not be disrupted because of it, said 76- year-old Singh. Government committed to early passage of Women's Reservation Bill, said PM.

Law to prevent communal violence soon, says PM. Government to re-double efforts to deal with militant activities.

No need to panic in the face of swine flu, says PM. PM also sent sends out stern warning to hoarders and black-marketeers.

India confident of crushing terrorism, says

Prime Minister asserted he was confident that India would crush terrorism with the help of everyone, adding that violence and terror could not be accepted in a democratic set up.

He said while the government respected the people's right to air their grievances, "nothing can be achieved through violence. There is no place in our democratic system for those who resort to violence."

Manmohan Singh said that terrorism had become a global menace. He said his government had taken several steps to improve the internal security since the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 that left nearly 170 people dead.

The prime minister said that Maoist guerrillas, or Naxalites, were not able to understand the strength of Indian democracy.

He vowed to step up the campaign against the Naxalites and provide all help to state governments to overcome the Maoist menace.

At the same time, Manmohan Singh pledged to improve the social and economic disparities that provide oxygen to the Maoist insurgents who hold sway in many parts of the country.

PM's new slogan: Save water

Faced with increasing water shortages that is affecting millions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday coined a new slogan for the nation: "Pani Bachao" (Save Water).

Dr Singh underlined the urgent need to preserve the country's depleting water and other natural resources. He went on to say that India needed a new slogan: "Pani Bachao".

No mention of Pak in PM's I-Day speech

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made no reference to Pakistan by name in his Independence Day speech -- a rarity on this annual occasion.

He spoke about India's desire to have good relations with all its neighbours but made no pointed reference to Pakistan.

He also avoided talking about Pakistan while discussing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, whose ownership is disputed by Islamabad.

India desirous of peace in South Asia

India desires peace with all its neighbours in South Asia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

"We want peace with our neighbours. We want to create an environment that will benefit the entire South Asia," the prime minister said, adding that the country needed a foreign policy that should "work for India's interests in a changing world. We have succeeded (in having such a policy) to a great extent," he said.

Manmohan Singh said that India had good relations with the US, Japan, Russia and China. New Delhi was also improving its relations with countries of Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

India has cemented its traditional ties with Africa and was searching for new opportunities in South America, he said.

More highlights of PM's I-Day speech

The following are the highlights of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's address to the nation on Independence Day:

* Warns hoarders and black marketeers

* No one will go hungry

* No need to panic in the face of H1N1 flu. No disruption of daily lives.

* Will ensure that benefits of development reach all sections of society and all regions and citizens of the country

* Every citizen of India should be prosperous and secure and be able to lead a life of dignity and self respect

* Restoring growth rate to 9 percent is the greatest challenge we face. We expect that there will be an improvement in the situation by the end of this year

* Appeal to businessmen and industrialists to join in effort to tackle difficult situation and fulfil their social obligations

* This year, there has been deficiency in the monsoon. We will provide all possible assistance to our farmers to deal with the drought

* Date for repayment of farmers' bank loans postponed. Additional support given to farmers for payment of interest on short term crop loans

* We have adequate stocks of foodgrain. All efforts will be made to control rising prices of foodgrain, pulses and other goods of daily use

* Country needs another Green Revolution. the goal is four percent annual growth in agriculture; achievable in the next five years.

* Food security law to be enacted under which every below poverty line family will get a fixed amount of foodgrain every month at concessional rates

* Special care to be taken of needs of women and children. Benefit of ICDS to be extended to every child below the age of six by March 2012

* NREGA programme to be improved to bring in more transparency and accountability

* Right to Education Act enacted, funds will not be a constraint

* Special attention to be given to the needs of disabled children

* Secondary education will be expanded to ensure that every child in the country benefits

* Bank loans and scholarships to be provided to the maximum number of students

* New scheme to help students from economically weaker sections get educational loans at reduced interest rates; will benefit about five lakh students in technical and professional courses

* National Rural Health Mission to be expanded to cover every family below the poverty line

* Additional funds allocated for Bharat Nirman; programmes for the development of rural and urban areas to be speeded up

* Accelerated efforts to improve physical infrastructure; construction of 20 km of national highways every day

* Railways have started work on dedicated freight corridors

* Road, rail and civil aviation projects being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states will be specially monitored.

* Rajiv Awas Yojna being launched to make the country slum free

* India will meet the challenge of climate change through eight national missions

* Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, aimed at increasing the use of solar energy and making it affordable, will be launched on Nov 14

* Need a new culture of energy conservation.

* More attention to programmes for water collection and storage. "Save Water" should be one of our national slogans

* Government should be sensitive to people's complaints and dissatisfaction but nothing is achieved by destroying public property and indulging in violence. The government will deal firmly with people who indulge in such acts

* Security forces being constantly upgraded to root out terrorism.

* Redoubled efforts to deal with militant activities. Will extend all help to the state governments to make their police forces more effective.

* Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the power of our democracy

* Will endeavour to remove those causes of social and economic dissatisfaction which give rise to problems like Naxalism

* Seek active partnership of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the development process

* Schemes for the welfare of the minorities to be taken forward

* Funds enhanced substantially for special schemes for development of districts with concentration of minorities

* Bill to prevent communal violence has been introduced in parliament and efforts will be made to convert it into a law as soon as possible

* Female foeticide is a shame on all of us. We must eliminate it as early as possible

* Government is committed to the early passage of the Women's reservation bill

* Working on legislation to provide 50 percent reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies.

* National Female Literacy Mission to be launched; aims to reduce female illiteracy by half in three years

* Recommendations of the committee on ex-servicemen's pensions accepted; this will benefit 12 lakh retired soldiers and JCOs

* Will take care of the special needs of the backward regions with redoubled efforts to remove regional imbalances

* Government constantly endeavouring to make the northeastern states equal partners in the country's progress; without their well-being, the country cannot move forward

* There have been two elections in Jammu and Kashmir in the past year - for the state assembly and the Lok Sabha - with the people participating vigorously. This is proof that there is no place for separatist thought in the state

* Will endeavour to ensure that human rights are respected in Jammu and Kashmir and all its citizens are able to live in peace and dignity in an environment of safety and security

* Want to live in peace and harmony with our neighbours. Will make every possible effort to create an environment conducive to the social and economic development of the whole of South Asia.

* Benefits of good programmes will not reach the people till the government machinery is corruption free. Public administration to be more efficient.

* Need to improve delivery systems to provide basic services to citizens

* Renewed efforts to decentralize public administration through Panchayati Raji institutions and to ensure greater involvement of people

* Initiative will be taken for a new partnership between civil society and the government so that tax payers' money is better spent

* Right to Information Act to be improved to make it is more effective and enhance accountability and transparency

* Special efforts to strengthen administrative machinery for rural programmes

* Unique Identification Authority of India set up. First set of identity numbers expected to be available in the next one to one-and-a-half years

* Nation building will be our highest duty.

Source: Agencies

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