The story of the Gujarat earthquake is about how a determined community extricated itself from the debris and created a better life for themselves.
Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority [GSDMA] was created as a permanent body not only to look at reconstruction, but also to undertake long-term disaster management in the state.
Gujarat Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program (GERRP) is one of the most comprehensivereconstruction programs ever undertaken in the country.
It is said that disasters create an opportunity to “build back better”.
Gujarat understood this and organized the entire reconstruction program towards converting the crisis into an opportunity.
Gujarat reconstruction program become not only a successful program but also a model for many other reconstruction programs in India and Asia
Hon. Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority, Shri M. Shashidhar Reddy, Hon, Minister of Revenue & Disaster Management, Smt. Anandiben Patel, Bhishma Pitha of Indian Earthquake Engineering, Dr. A. S Arya, other dignitaries on the Dias, experts from different parts of the world, Secretaries, members of various disaster management authorities of different state governments, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Conference is held to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the occurrence of Gujarat Earthquake. It is also held at a crucial time when disasters are increasing all over the world and warrant better understanding of reconstruction and rehabilitation processes. Earthquake in New Zealand, & triple disaster of Japan – Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear, highlight the need for understanding reconstruction and rehabilitation and to learn lessons from each other's experiences.
Hence GSDMA has organized this Conference at an appropriate time inviting experts who participated in different reconstruction programs all over the world. In this Conference, we are going to discuss not only the reconstruction experiences of Gujarat, but also Latur (Maharashtra) and Tamil Nadu. We are also going to discuss the reconstruction experiences of China, Indonesia, Kashmir, Bihar, Japan, Colombia, New Zealand, Iran & USA to learn lessons from each other.
On behalf of Government of Gujarat, I welcome the experts and delegates from different parts of the world who are here to share their experience. In this speech, I am not going to discuss about the numbers, facts and figures, some of which were already discussed by my previous speakers. I will focus on the spirit and resilience of the people of Gujarat that enabled it to emerge stronger and better after the earthquake.
The 2001 earthquake was a testimony to the power of nature and a test of resilience of people of Gujarat. The story of the Gujarat earthquake was only nominally a tale of the death, destruction and dislocation that followed that fateful Republic Day in 2001. The real story is about how a determined community extricated itself from the debris and created a better life for themselves.
The earthquake was not only the worst disaster to have occurred in Gujarat in 180 years, but the area impacted was also very large. Kutch district, which was worst affected, is bigger than the states of Kerala and Haryana put together. The earthquake occurred while Gujarat was reeling under second successive year of drought. The challenges were many.
The need of the hour was to achieve balanced and sustainable recovery in the earthquake affected areas covering all aspects of human need. A need was also felt for a paradigm shift from the conventional approach of response post disaster to mitigation and preparedness against disasters.
There were great challenges ahead to conceptualize a program, which can address all important concerns including providing safe and good habitat to affected people, restoring livelihood, putting excellent infrastructure, etc. that arose from the earthquake. Further, balancing the short-term requirements and long-term vision in a comprehensive reconstruction programme was a challenge in itself.
Gujarat has been prone to natural disasters but every time a disaster occurred, the State had bounced back turning adversity into a development opportunity and the earthquake of 26th January 2001 was no exception.
Gujarat Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program (GERRP) is one of the most comprehensive reconstruction programs ever undertaken in the country. It was not only the biggest reconstruction program in terms of number of houses and infrastructure reconstructed, but also in terms of the geographical area and components included in the reconstruction.
The State Government designed the reconstruction programme as a comprehensive multi-sector program, aimed at time bound rehabilitation of the people affected by the earthquake through provision of housing, social amenities, infrastructure, preparing the people to face disasters through community participation and multi hazard preparedness programs, human resource development; and livelihood support based on sustainable economy and ecology.
The diversity required in the program can also be adjudged by the geographical spread of the destruction. Unlike other reconstruction programs of similar catastrophe elsewhere, the affected habitats in Gujarat were located not only in rural areas but in urban areas as well, which demanded different strategies for restoration. Majority of the affected population was illiterate and thus posed a big challenge of communication between communities and government.
The reconstruction program was also conceived with a clear vision in mind i.e. to Build Back Better.
It is said that disasters create an opportunity to “build back better”. Gujarat understood this and organized the entire reconstruction program towards converting the crisis into an opportunity.
The policy formulation, implementation and institutional mechanisms set up aimed at converting the adversity into an opportunity. If we had aimed at reconstructing what was damaged, it would have been done in half the time which had taken and it would have been less than half of the money spent on reconstruction. In fact what we aimed was the transformation of the affected areas using this opportunity. I would say, if you look at our total reconstruction cost, approximately half of it would be for reconstruction and rest would be for new construction. That is the outstanding feature of Gujarat reconstruction.
If you go to Kutch today you will find that the 4 urban towns of Kutch which was totally devastated has emerged into scientific ultra modern towns which showcase our efforts. We proved that adversity could really be translated into an opportunity.
What is important is not transforming adversity into opportunity, but how we did it. The first and foremost is creating of institutional mechanisms. Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority [GSDMA] was created as a permanent body not only to look at reconstruction, but also to undertake long-term disaster management in the state. The reconstruction of the 4 devastated towns in Kutch with ultra modern infrastructure was undertaken by Gujarat Urban Development Co. New Area Development Authorities were created to ensure better town planning and long-term development planning. We created an Advisory Council to advise the Government on issues concerned with policy decisions. All these institutional mechanisms were first of its kind in the reconstruction history of India. Without these innovations, the current feat would not have been possible. Gujarat reconstruction program become not only a successful program but also a model for many other reconstruction programs in India and Asia.
When Tamil Nadu Tsunami occurred, Gujarat was one of the first states not only to respond with relief materials but also helped them by providing our guidelines and informing them about how the reconstruction was undertaken in Gujarat. A special team of officers from Gujarat went to Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and made presentations and handed over guidelines, procedures and systems which were put in place in our reconstruction and Tamil Nadu followed many lessons from Gujarat Reconstruction.
During this Tsunami which affected not only Gujarat but also entire Asia, a High Delegation from Sri Lanka came and met me and discussed with us regarding some of the best practices undertaken in Gujarat.
When J&K earthquake occurred, a High Level Delegation from J&K also came to study the Gujarat Reconstruction Program.
In 2003 when Bam earthquake occurred, Iranian Government was provided with housing reconstruction guidelines developed by us.
Apart from these, High level Delegations from Afghanistan and Bangladesh also come to study Gujarat reconstruction program.
After Pakistan earthquake, the policy guidelines from Gujarat were sent to Pakistan. Lessons learnt in Gujarat played a vital role in shaping reconstruction program in Pakistan.
Thus the impact of the Gujarat program can be seen far and wide not only for its outcome, but also for the methods, systems and procedures put in place which could be replicated in other parts of the world.
Setting up of Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority and the initiatives undertaken for building long-term disaster management capacity building has helped Gujarat to face subsequent disasters. It has also helped us to extend a helping hand to other states when they face catastrophic disasters. I will only highlight a few examples:
When Tsunami occurred Gujarat supplied drinking water to Andaman & Nicobar. Tents were provided from Gujarat. A train load of relief materials were dispatched from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
During 2008 Bihar floods, Gujarat send a team of rescue men, equipments and boats by air to help the affected and Gujarat was the only state to respond in such an effective manner.
In the recent bridge collapse in Kota, a special request was made by Rajasthan Government to send teams from Gujarat and our fire and rescue team with equipments was sent to Kota.
We have not only built capacity at the Mega cities and Corporations, but our capacity building exercise has peculated down to Nagarpalikas and Villages. Gujarat has provided fire fighting equipments and rescue equipments to all the Nagarpalikas in Gujarat and Gujarat is the only state to do so in the entire country. We have built capacity not only at the Municipality level but also down to the village and taluka levels for flood rescue which is a taluka and village level problem. Rescue boats, lifebuoys, life jackets, and ropes have been provided to the talukas as well as to select areas which face the problem. Adequate training and equipments have been provided to fire and rescue services and also to volunteers.
Disaster Management Plans have been prepared at State, District, and Taluka and even at village levels. The State Disaster Resource network (SDRN) at the level is capturing all the resources available with government as well as in terms of manpower, machinery and expertise to the village level. The Hazard Risk Vulnerability Atlas, the first of its kind prepared in the country is a very handy tool for looking at hazard vulnerability and composite risk going down to sub-taluka level. This Atlas is a unique tool that can be effectively used for all the four aspects of disaster management: prevention, preparedness, relief and rehabilitation.
Gujarat is the first state in the country to successfully complete a scientific microzonation to plan for mitigating and avoid future disasters. Gandhidham which is a fast growing area is vulnerable to natural disasters was taken up for this study and microzonation has been completed successfully.
Gujarat is again looking at safety at all levels - let me give only one example: the example of school safety. In order to provide an understanding of disaster preparedness and mitigation, the syllabus of schools were revised to include lessons on disaster management. A special school safety initiative was undertaken through NGO to train large number of children and teachers at school level and conduct mock drills. As a third phase fire safety equipments have been provided to all the government schools at government expenses. Gujarat is the first and only state in India to undertake such safety measures for school children.
Apart from all the institutional mechanism we have created scientific instructions such as Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) and Institute of Seismological Research (ISR). It is fully operational with scientists and research scholars conducting studies on earthquakes, tremors, cyclones etc. In order to enable the studies we have set up 22 observatories and put in place 40 Strong Motion Accelorographs in different parts of the state. ISR helps us to know the occurrence of even a small tremor anywhere in the world within minutes – for example, we could see and know what happened in Japan within Tem minutes of the occurrence of the disaster.
All these I have mentioned earlier brings us back to the point with which I started i.e. Gujarat could convert this great disaster into a great opportunity. Natural disasters and natural hazards are beyond the control of human being. Disasters cannot be totally prevented but their impact can be reduced. In this direction Gujarat has not left any stone unturned. Moreover I would like to assure that our efforts will continue to reduce damages to the bare minimum.
Gujarat experience stands out from other reconstruction programs mainly in four aspects:
Successful owner driven reconstruction of houses,
Town Planning of the four worst effected cities in Kutch,
Long-term disaster initiatives undertaken, and
Economic transformation of Kutch.
No reconstruction program can claim that all the good work done has been their own innovations. Gujarat learnt from the experiences of Latur and improved upon the same. We also looked at the reconstruction experiences of other countries for formulation of our policies, act and institutional mechanisms.
Similarly, as I told you earlier, Gujarat experience helped other countries and states. Learning lessons from each other is very important if we do not want to reinvent the wheel again and again. As the learning will help to avoid repetition of mistakes and improve upon what others have already done. In this context, this Conference holds a great significance.
Experts have come here not only from different countries, but also from different continents. Experts who have either participated in reconstruction or studied reconstruction in different geographical, socio-economic and political settings are here to share their experiences. This mutual sharing, I hope will lead to preparation of a document that will guide the policies and implementation process of reconstruction programs world over, though huge volume of research has been undertaken with respect to reconstruction and every reconstruction is going to be a challenge. No reconstruction program can be duplicated. We have to learn from each program and modify it to suit the affected people's socio-economic and political conditions, despite some fundamentals and factors will remain common for developed and developing countries.
Hence I wish this conference a great success and its objective of colleting major lessons applicable for other reconstruction programs. Before I conclude, I would like to say only one thing, people think that reconstruction program succeeds because money flowing into the affected areas, but in reality, it is the commitment of the stakeholders, state and national government and the people themselves play an important role in bringing about transformation in affected areas. Gujarat reconstruction program stands a testimony in this endeavor.
Increasing urbanization is leading to more and more urban disasters, particularly urban floods. Due to unplanned development and improper land use planning & increase in population and urban centers lead to urban flooding. Mitigating and preventing disasters in urban areas is going to be a major challenge of future governments and understanding its importance, NDMA has prepared guidelines -“National Disaster Management Guidelines – Management of Urban Flooding”, which I am happy to launch in Gujarat on this auspicious day. I congratulate NDMA for bringing out these guidelines. Government of Gujarat is cognizant to urban flooding and is taking appropriate steps. A study on the reasons of floods and mitigation measures to be undertaken in four major urban cities – Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and Surat has been recently completed. GSDMA has also done a special study on flooding of Jamnagar. Mitigation plans will be prepared based on the studies will also take into consideration the guidelines provided by NDMA to avoid urban floods in Gujarat.
Today is a very important day for all the Indians. Today is the 120th birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect constitution of India, who advocated equity, dignity and freedom for all the human being regardless cast, creed, color and economic conditions. Reconstruction programs should also aim at recovery of all the effected people regardless their caste, creed and color. Gujarat has successfully achieved this even after the aftermath of the disaster. This workshop on the day of Dr. Ambedkar's birth anniversary carries the message of dignity, equity and freedom to all.
Experts tell us that the impact of disasters affect different sections of people differently. Poor and weaker sections are the most vulnerable in any disaster and they are worst affected. If Dr. Ambedkar's message of equity and social justice is realized, it will not only help better reconstruction, but also prevent occurrence of differently impact in disasters. It will help build capacity and resilience to the most vulnerable people of developing countries. Today my message in this conference is “let us take the vision of Dr. Ambedkar and build a society with equity and social justice in which one and all will be capable of preventing and mitigating the impact of future disasters”.
I congratulate all the participants here and wish the conference all the success.
Today's India is an aspirational society: PM Modi on Independence Day
August 15, 2022
Best wishes to my dear countrymen on the momentous occasion of completion of 75 years of Independence. Many congratulations to all! It is heartening to see our tricolor being unfurled with pride, honor and glory, not only in all the corners of India, but also worldwide by Indians who love their country immensely. I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the people spread across the globe who love India. My heartfelt greetings to all my dear Indians on this Amrit Mahotsav festival of celebrating our freedom. This is a day of historic importance. This is an auspicious occasion to step forward on a new path, with a new resolution and a new strength.
In the pursuit of Independence, the entire period of slavery was spent in struggle. No part of India or any time period remained untouched by the freedom struggle against several centuries of slavery and marked by people sacrificing themselves facing torutre and making supreme sacrifice. Today is an opportunity for all of us countrymen to bow down and salute all such brave hearts, the legends of every sacrifice made by every great soul. This is an opportunity to also solemnly acknowledge their debt and pledge to fulfil their dreams at the earliest with deep resolve. All the countrymen are deeply indebted to Pujya Bapu, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, who devoted all their life on the path of duty towards the nation.The path of obligation has been their sole life path. This country is grateful to Mangal Pandey, Tatya Tope, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil and countless such revolutionaries of ours who shook the foundations of British rule. This nation is grateful to those brave women, be it Rani Lakshmibai, Jhalkari Bai, Durga Bhabhi, Rani Gaidinliu, Rani Chennamma, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Velu Nachiyar, who showed the mettle of women power of India. What is the resolve of India's ‘Nari Shakti’? Every Indian is filled with pride while remembering the countless brave women who achieved the pinnacle of sacrifice.
Today is an opportunity to pay homage to countless such great men like Dr. Rajendra Prasad ji, Nehru ji, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Deendayal Upadhyay, Jai Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Nanaji Deshmukh, Subramania Bharati who fought the war of independence and built the country after independence.
When we talk about the freedom struggle, we cannot forget to acknowledge our tribal society living in forests. There are countless names like Bhagwan Birsa Munda, Sidhu-Kanhu, Alluri Sitarama Raju, Govind Guru, who became the voice of freedom movement and inspired my tribal brothers and sisters, mothers and youth in the remotest jungles to live and die for the motherland. It has been the good fortune of the country that there have been many aspects of the freedom struggle. And one such aspect was when many such great men like Narayana Guru, Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Aurobindo, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore kept awakening the consciousness of India in every corner and every village of India, and kept this consciousness alive.
For the last year, we are witnessing how the country (is celebrating) the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’. It all began with Dandi Yatra in 2021. The people held programs in every district, every corner, of India to enlarge the scope of goals of the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of Independence. This was perhaps for the first time in history that such a huge and comprehensive festival for a single purpose was celebrated. An attempt was made in every corner of India to remember all those great men who did not find mention in history for some reasons or who were forgotten. Today, the nation sought out all such heroes and great men, selfless, brave men from every corner of the country and paid tributes to them. It was an opportunity to pay tributes to all these great men during the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’.
Yesterday on 14th August, India also remembered the deep wounds of Partition on ‘Partition Vibhishika Memorial Day’ with a heavy heart. Crores of such people had endured a lot for the glory of the tricolour. They had endured so much due to their love for the motherland and they did not lose patience. Their determination to start a new life with their love for India is inspirational and worth saluting.
Today, as we are celebrating the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', it is an opportunity to recall the contributions made by those who lived and died for the country, dedicated their lives for the country during the last 75 years, those who protected the country and fulfilled the country's resolutions; be it the army personnel, police personnel, bureaucrats, public representatives, administrators of the local self-government, state administration or central administration. Today we must also recall the contributions made by the crores of citizens of the country who have done everything possible to take the country forward despite various challenges in 75 years.
My dear countrymen,
This journey of 75 years has been full of ups and downs. Amidst the shadow of good and bad times our countrymen have accomplished various achievements; they have made efforts and have not given up. They didn't let the resolutions fade away. It is true that the hundreds of years of colonial rule had inflicted deep wounds on India and the sentiments of the Indians, but the people were resilient and passionate. And that's why, Indians managed to revive the nation despite scarcity and denigration. When the freedom struggle was in its final stages, all measures were taken to frighten, disappoint and frustrate the country. There were apprehensions that after independence when the British would leave, the country would be scattered and in shambles; people would die fighting internal wars; India would plunge into a dark age.
But they were not aware that this is the soil of India. This country has the unlimited potential to survive across centuries and influence even beyond the powerful rulers. It is as a result of such immense capabilities and resilience that our nation has emerged strong despite facing innumerable adversities be it food crisis or war. We have aborted challenges hurled at us by terrorist activities which killed our innocent countrymen. We endured proxy war, natural calamities, successes and failures, hopes and despair yet remained undaunted at all such junctures. But even in the midst of these abysmal stages, India has been relentlessly progressing. India's diversity, which others once thought was a burden to India, is proven to be the priceless power of India. A strong testimony of its power.
The world was not cognizant that India has an inherent potential of strong culture and values, a bond of thoughts deeply embedded in mind and soul; and that is - India is Mother of democracy. And when those who have democracy pulsating in their minds walk with determination and resolve, it augurs doom for the most powerful sultanates of the world. This Mother of Democracy, our India has proven to all that we have this invaluable strength.
My dear countrymen,
In the journey of 75 years, in the midst of hopes, aspirations, ups and downs, it is with everyone's effort that we could reach this far. And when in 2014, my countrymen gave me this responsibility, I was the first Indian born in free India, who got the privilege to sing praises of glory to my dear countrymen from the ramparts of the Red Fort. But whatever I have learned today is from all of you. I have been able to understand your happiness and sorrows. I could sense your soul calling about the hopes and aspirations you have for your country. With whatever I could embrace of your dreams, I immersed myself fully in empowering those countrymen during my tenure who were left behind and deprived from being a part of the mainstream. Be they the marginalised, outcast, exploited, victimized, deprived, tribals, women, youth, farmers, or the divyang people. From the farthest of India’s east or west, north or south, ocean beds or Himalayan peaks, I have dedicated myself to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of inclusion. I have committed myself to his vision of empowering and uplifting the person sitting at the last mile. I can see the fruition of this mission in the past eight years because of the experience gained over several decades of independence. We are embarking on the glorious years of 75 years today on Amrit Mahotsav. On the first morning of this Amrit Kaal I am filled with pride to see such an immensely endowed nation.
I am witnessing the biggest fortune today that Indians have emerged as an Aspirational Society. Being an aspirational society is the biggest asset for any nation. And we are proud that today every corner of India, every section and strata of our society is brimming with aspirations.
Every citizen of the country wants to change things, wants to see things change, but is not ready to wait. He wants these things to happen in front of his eyes and wants to do it as part of his duty. He wants speed, he wants progress. He is eager and excited to fulfill all the dreams cherished in 75 years before his eyes. It may cause problems to some people. Because when there is an aspirational society, then even the governments have to walk on the edge of the sword and also have to charge with the times. And I believe whether it is the central government, state governments, institutions of local self-government, no matter what kind of governance system, everyone has to address this aspirational society and we cannot wait longer for their aspirations. Our aspirational society has waited for a long time. But now they are not ready to force their future generations to live in wait and hence the first dawn of this ‘Amrit Kaal’ has brought a huge golden opportunity for us to fulfill the aspirations of that aspirational society.
My dear countrymen,
Recently, we have seen and experienced one such force and that is the renaissance of the collective consciousness in India. The renaissance of such collective consciousness, a nectar of so many struggles for freedom, is now being preserved and compiled. It is turning into a resolution, the culmination of effort is reckoned and the path of accomplishment is visible. I think that this awakening of consciousness, this renaissance, is our greatest asset.
Look at this renaissance. Until 10th August, people would not even be aware of the power within the country. But for the last three days, the way the country has set about celebrating the journey of the Tricolour, even the leading experts of social science can't imagine the power within my country which has been shown by the Tricolor. This is the moment of re-consciousness and renaissance. People are still to understand this. One can experience this consciousness when every corner of India comes out to observe ‘Janata Curfew’. There is a feeling of consciousness when the country stands shoulder to shoulder with the corona warriors by clapping and clanging utensils. This consciousness is felt when the country goes out to greet the corona warriors by lighting a lamp. During Corona, the world was grappling with the confusion whether to take vaccines or not or whether the vaccines are useful or not. At that time, even the poor people of my country's villages surprised the world with the administration of 200 crore vaccine doses. This is consciousness; this is potential, which has given new strength to the country today.
My dear brothers and sisters,
I can see an important potential. Like an aspirational society, like renaissance the attitude of the whole world towards India has changed in the same way after so many decades of independence. The world is looking at India with pride and with anticipation. The world has started looking for solutions to the problems on the soil of India, friends. This change in the world, this change in the thinking of the world is the result of our experience and journey of the last 75 years.
The world is observing the way we have started moving ahead with the resolution, and ultimately the world too is living with a new hope. The world has started realising where the power to fulfil the expectations actually lies. I see it as triple power or 'tri-shakti' i.e. aspiration, re-awakening and the world's expectations. We are fully cognisant of this, today, my countrymen have a major role in awakening. 130 crore countrymen after several decades of experience have shown the world the importance of a stable government, the power of political stability, policies and how trust develops in the policies. The world too is now realising it. And now when there is political stability, dynamism in policies, speed in decision making, ubiquity and universal trust, then everyone becomes a partner in development.
We started our journey with the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, but gradually the countrymen have added more colours to it with ‘Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’. So, we have seen our collective power and collective potential. 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ is being celebrated with the campaign to build 75 Amrit Sarovars in every district today. People from every village are joining the campaign and offering their services. With their own efforts, the people are running a massive campaign for water conservation in their respective villages. Therefore brothers and sisters, whether it is a campaign for cleanliness or the work for the welfare of the poor, the country is moving ahead with full force today.
But brothers and sisters, if we continue to glorify our 75-years of journey in the 'Azadi Ka AmritKaal' and keep patting our own backs, then our dreams might be pushed far away. So, even if the past 75 years have been wonderful, full of various challenges and certain unfulfilled dreams, yet today when we are entering the 'Azadi Ka AmritKaal', the next 25 years are very significant for our country. And that's why today as I am talking about the strength of 130 crore countrymen, witnessing their dreams and feeling their resolutions from the ramparts of Red Fort, I believe we must focus our attention on the 'Panch Pran' for the coming 25 years. You have to concentrate on your resolve and strength. And we must take up the responsibility of fulfilling all the dreams of the freedom fighters by embracing those 'Panch Pran' by 2047 when the country celebrates 100 years of independence.
Speaking of 'Panch Pran', the first vow is for the country to move ahead with a big resolve. And that big resolution is of a developed India; and now we should not settle for anything less than that. Big resolution! The second Pran is that in no part of our existence, not even in the deepest corners of our mind or habits should there be any ounce of slavery. It should be nipped there itself. Now, 100 per cent this slavery of hundreds of years has kept us bound, has forced us to keep our emotions tied up, have developed distorted thinking in us. We have to liberate ourselves from the slavery mind set which is visible in innumerable things within and around us. This is our second Pran Shakti.
The third Pran is that we should feel proud of our heritage and legacy. Since it is this same legacy which had given India its golden period in the past. And it is this legacy that has an innate capability of transforming itself with time. It is this rich heritage that transcends tests of tide and times. It embraces the new. And hence we should be proud of this heritage.
Fourth Pran which is equally important is unity and solidarity. Amongst 130 million countrymen when there is harmony and bonhomie, unity becomes its strongest virtue. "Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat" – is one of the unifying initiatives to actuate the dream of the fourth Pran.
Fifth Pran is the duty of the citizens, in which even the Prime Minister, Chief Minister cannot be an exclusion as they are also responsible citizens and have a duty towards the nation. This virtue is going to be the vital life force if we want to achieve the dreams we have for the next 25 years.
My dear countrymen
When your dreams are big, your resolve is big, and therefore endeavours should also be bigger. Strength also adds up to a great extent. Recall the period of 40-42, it is difficult to imagine now how the country emerged from the shackles of the treacherous British rule. Some hands picked up brooms, while some chose spindles, while several chose the path towards satyagrah, some chose to struggle while many treaded the path of bravery of revolution. But the resolve of each was big- that of Freedom. Just see the power of their big goal– they achieved freedom for us. We became independent. Had their resolution would have been small and limited, we would have prolonged our days of struggle and slavery, but kudos to their indomitable spirit and big dreams, we could finally attained our freedom.
My dear countrymen,
As we wake up to this auspicious morning of 76th Independence, we must resolve to make India a developed nation in the next 25 years. The youth of today, all of 20-22-25 years, who I can see here shall be a witness to the glorious centennial celebrations of Independence. You will be 50-55 years old then, that means this golden period of your life, these 25-30 years of your age is the time to fulfill the dreams of India. Take a pledge and walk with me, friends, take the oath of the Tricolor and let us all join with full strength. This should be our great resolve that my country will be a developed country, we will develop a people-centric system in every parameter of development and we will have every human being and his hopes and aspirations at our center. We know that when India makes great resolutions, it also implements them.
When I first spoke about cleanliness during my first speech, the entire country embraced it. Everyone moved towards cleanliness as per his capacity and there is now antipathy towards filthiness. This is the country which has done it, is doing it and will continue to do so in future also. When the world was in a dilemma, this is the country which crossed the target of 200 crore vaccinations in a time-bound manner and broke all the previous records. We are dependent on the fuel from the Gulf. We had decided how to move towards bio-oil. The 10 percent ethanol blending seemed like a very big dream. Old experiences showed that it was not possible, but the country has realized this dream of 10 percent ethanol blending before time.
Brothers and sisters,
Providing electricity connection to 2.5 crore people in such a short time was not a small task, but the country has done it. Today the country is rapidly providing 'water from tap' to the homes of lakhs of families. Freedom from open defecation has become possible in India today.
My dear countrymen,
Experience tells us that we can achieve our goals once we are determined. Be it the goal of renewable energy, the intention of building new medical colleges in the country or creating a workforce of doctors, the pace has increased a lot in every field. And that's why I say that the coming 25 years should be of huge resolutions, this should be our life and this should be our pledge.
The second thing that I have mentioned is the mentality of slavery and the attitude of the country. Brothers, how long will the world continue to give certificates to us? How long will we live on the certificates of the world? Shall we not set our own standards? Can a country of 130 crores not make an effort to exceed its standards? Under no circumstances should we try to look like others. It should be our temperament to grow with our own potential. We want freedom from slavery. The element of slavery should not remain in our mind even under the distant seven seas, friends. And I look with hope the way the new National Education Policy has been formulated with a lot of brainstorming, with the exchange of ideas from various people and is at the root of the country’s education policy. The skill that we have emphasized is such a power, which will give us the strength to be free from slavery.
We have seen that sometimes our talent gets tied in the shackles of language. This is the result of slave mentality. We should be proud of every language of our country. We may or may not know the language, but we should be proud that it is the language of my country and it is the language given to the world by our ancestors.
Today we are witnessing the structure of Digital India. We are looking at start-ups. Who are these people? This is that pool of talent who lives in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, or in villages and belongs to poor families. These are our youngsters who are coming before the world today with new discoveries. We have to give up the colonial-era mentality. Instead, we must rely on our capabilities.
Secondly, we must feel proud of our heritage. Only when we connect with our land, we will be able to fly high, and when we fly high, we will be able to provide solutions to the world too. We have seen the impact when we take pride in our heritage and culture. Today the world is talking about holistic health care. But when it talks about holistic health care, it looks towards India's yoga, India's Ayurveda and India's holistic lifestyle. This is our legacy that we are providing the world with. The world is being influenced by it today. Now look at our strength. We are the people who know how to live with nature. We know how to love nature. Today the world is facing environment related problems. We have that legacy and the solutions to the problems of global warming. Our ancestors have given us the same. When we talk about an environment-friendly lifestyle and LIFE mission, we attract the attention of the world. We have this power. Coarse paddy and millets are household items. This is our heritage. Due to the hard work of our small farmers paddy flourished on small pieces of land. Today the world is moving ahead to celebrate the millet year at the international level. That means our heritage is being appreciated around the world today. Let us learn to be proud of it. We have a lot to offer to the world.
When it comes to social stress, people talk of our family values; whenever it comes to personal stress, people talk of yoga. When it comes to collective tension, the people talk of the family system of India. The joint family system is an asset. Due to the sacrifices made by our mothers and sisters over the centuries, the 'joint family system' has evolved as a legacy. This is our legacy. How can we not be proud of this heritage? We are those people who see Shiva in every living being. We are those people who see Lord Narayana in every man. We are people who call women 'Narayani'. We are people who see the divine in the plants. We are the people who consider the rivers as mother. We are those people who see Shankar in every stone. This is our power. It is our potential to see every river as a form of mother. Such enormity of the environment is our pride! When we are proud of such heritage, the world too will feel proud of it.
Brothers and sisters,
We are the people who have given the world the mantra of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam". We are the people who believe in "Ekam Sadvipra Bahudha Vadanti".
In the period of ‘holier than thou’ mentality, today the world is facing a severe crisis due to conflicts caused by the attitude of one upmanship- the reason for all tensions. We have the wisdom to resolve this. Our scholars have said “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” meaning that absolute Truth is one but it is manifested differently. This is our glory. We are the ones who say "yat pinde tat brahmande”, such a wise thought that Whatever is in the universe is in every living being. We were the proponents of such human values.
We are the people who have seen the welfare of the world; we have been on the path of collective good and individual good, not only for our people but the whole world by believing in “sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ, sarve santu nirāmayāḥ”. It is ingrained in our values that we will pray that may all be prosperous and happy, may all be free from illness, may all see what is auspicious, and may no one suffer. It is our heritage to care for the happiness and good health of all. Hence, we should learn to honour and feel proud of our heritage and value system. It is the strength of our resolve that will be crucial in achieving the dreams in the next 25 years.
In the same way, my dear countrymen,
Another very important issue is Unity and solidarity. We need to celebrate the diversity of our huge country. The peaceful co-existence of innumerable traditions and creeds are our pride. For us all are equal. No one is inferior or superior; all are our own. This feeling of oneness is important for unity. The foundations of unity can be laid in every home only if son and daughter enjoy equality. If the family seeds gender discrimination across its generations then the spirit of Unity can never be woven in society. Gender equality is our first stipulation. When we talk of Unity, why not have only one parameter or standard-that of India First. All my endeavours, everything that I am thinking, saying, envisioning or visualising is in accordance with India First. This way the path to Unity can be opened for all of us my friend. This is the mantra we need to embrace to bind all of us in oneness. I have full faith that we can thus diminish the discrimination prevalent in our society. We endorse the value of Shramev Jayate which means that it should be in our nature to respect the labourer.
But my brothers and sisters
From the ramparts of Red Fort, I also want to share one of my enduring pains. I cannot hold myself from expressing my pain. I am mindful that it may not befit the podium of the Red Fort. But I will still express my deepest feelings of agony to my countrymen. If I do not open up in front of the countrymen, then where will I say it after all? What I wish to share is that it hurts me to say that we have witnessed a perversion in our day-to-day speaking, behavior. We have been casually using language and words that are insulting to women. Can we not pledge to get rid of everything in our behavior, culture and everyday life that humiliates and demeans women? Women's pride is going to be a huge asset in fulfilling the dreams of the nation. I see this power and therefore I am insistent on it.
I will now talk about the fifth life force – pran which is the duties of citizens. While trying to understand all the countries in the world that have made progress; every country that has achieved something, even in personal life, few things emerged. One is disciplined life, and the other is devotion to duty. There should be success in the life of the individual, of the society, of the family, of the nation. This is the fundamental path and the fundamental vital force.
It is the job of the government to make efforts to provide 24 hours electricity but it is the duty of the citizen to save as many units as he can. It is the responsibility and efforts of the government to supply water to every field, but a voice should come from each of my fields that we will move forward by saving water by focusing on 'per drop more crop'. It is our duty to do chemical free farming, organic farming and natural farming. Friends, whether it is police or people, ruler or administrator, no one can be untouched by this civic duty. If everyone performs the duties of a citizen, I am sure that we can achieve the desired goals ahead of time.
My dear countrymen,
Today is also the birth anniversary of Maharishi Aurobindo. I bow at the feet of that great man. But we need to remember the great man who gave a call for ‘Swadeshi to Swaraj’ and ‘Swaraj to Suraj’. This is his mantra. We all need to think how long we will be dependent on other people of the world. Can we outsource when our country needs food grains? When the country decided that we will meet our food requirements, did the country demonstrate it or not? Once we take a resolution, it is possible. And, therefore, ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ becomes the responsibility of every citizen, every government and every unit of society. ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ is not a government agenda or a government programme. This is a mass movement of society, which we have to take forward.
My friends, today we heard this sound after 75 years of independence for which our ears were yearning to hear. For the first time after 75 years, the Made in India cannon has saluted the Tricolour from the Red Fort. Will there be any Indian who will not be inspired by this sound? My dear brothers and sisters, today I want to congratulate the soldiers of the army of my country from my heart. I salute the way the army jawans have shouldered this responsibility of self-reliance in an organized way and with courage. The soldier of the army carries death in his hands. He stands firmly in the middle when there is no gap between death and life. The resolution of our country is not small when the armed forces make a list and decide not to import 300 defence products.
In this resolution, I can see the seed of a bright future of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' that will convert this dream into a banyan tree. Salute! Salute! Salute to my army officers!
I also want to salute the little children between 5 and 7 years of age. The nation's consciousness has been awakened. I have heard from countless families that 5-7 year old children tell their parents that they do not want to play with foreign toys. When a 5-year-old child makes such a resolution, it reflects the spirit of self-reliant India in him.
Speaking of the PLI scheme, one lakh crore rupees, people from around the world are coming to India to try their luck. They are bringing new technology along with them. They are generating new employment opportunities. India is becoming a manufacturing hub. It is building a foundation for a Self-reliant India. Be it manufacturing of electronic goods or mobile phones, today the country is progressing at a very fast pace. Which Indian wouldn't be proud when our Brahmos is exported to the world? Today the Vande Bharat train and our metro coaches are becoming objects of attraction for the world.
My dear countrymen,
We have to become self-reliant in the energy sector. How long will we be dependent on others in the field of energy? We should be self-reliant in the fields of solar energy, wind energy, and various other renewable energy sources like Mission Hydrogen, bio fuel and electric vehicles.
My dear countrymen,
Today natural farming is also a way of becoming self-reliant. Today the factories of Nano Fertilizer have brought a new hope in the country. But natural farming and chemical-free farming can give a boost to self-reliance. Today, new employment opportunities in the form of green jobs are opening up very fast in the country. India has opened up 'space' through its policies. India has come up with the most progressive policy regarding drones in the world. We have opened up new doors of opportunities for the youth of the country.
My dear brothers and sisters,
I also call upon the private sector to come forward. We have to dominate the world. One of the dreams of a self-reliant India is to ensure that India does not lag behind in fulfilling the needs of the world. Even if it is the MSMEs we have to take our products to the world with 'Zero Defect - Zero Effect'. We have to be proud of Swadeshi.
My dear Countrymen,
Till today we always remember our revered Lal Bahadur Shastri ji for his inspirational clarion call of Jai Jawan Jai Kisan meaning “Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer". Later Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji added a new link of Jai Vigyan which meant “hail science” and we gave it utmost importance. But in this new phase Amrit Kaal now it is imperative to add jai anusandhaan that is “hail innovation”.
Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan Jai Anusandhaan.
I repose my utmost faith in our youth of the nation. Witness the power of indegenious innovations. Today we have many success stories to show to the world - UPI-BHIM, our digital payment, our compelling position in the domain of Fintech. Today in the world, 40 percent of real time digital financial transactions are happening in my country. India has shown innovation prowess to the world.
My dear Countrymen,
Today we are all set to enter the 5G era. You don't have to wait too long before we match the global steps. We are ensuring that optical fiber reaches each and every village until the last mile. I am fully informed that the dream of Digital India will be attained through rural India. Today I am happy that four lakh Common Service Centers of India are being developed in villages which are being managed by the youth of that village. Nation can take pride in the fact that four lakh Digital Entrepreneurs are being nurtured in the villages, and the rural population is becoming accustomed to benefit from all the services. Such is the power of India to become a technology hub in itself.
My dear countrymen,
This Digital India movement of developing semiconductors, entering the 5G era, spreading the network of optical fibres is not just to establish ourselves as modern and developed, but it is possible because of three intrinsic missions. The complete transformation of the education ecosystem, revolution in health infrastructure and improvement in the quality of agricultural life will be possible only through digitalisation.
I can foresee that India will march ahead phenomenally in this decade which is hailed as the techade for humanity. It is a decade of technology. In the field of IT india has become a force to reckon with globally. We have the competencies to contribute in this techade.
Our Atal Innovation Mission, our incubation centres, our startups are developing a whole new sector, opening up new opportunities for the younger generation. Whether it is a matter of space mission, whether it is about our Deep Ocean Mission, whether we want to go deep into the ocean or we have to touch the sky, these are new areas, by which we are moving forward.
My dear countrymen,
Let us not forget this and India has seen this for centuries, while some model works are needed in the country, some great heights must be achieved, but at the same time we should remain rooted and grounded while accomplishing heights as a nation.
Potential of the economic advancement of India is dependent on the strength of the grassroot. Hence, we must acknowledge and strengthen the potential of our small farmers, entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, cottage industries, micro industries, street vendors, domestic labourers, daily wagers, auto rickshaw drivers, bus service providers etc. These form the largest population who need to be empowered. Being able to do so shall guarantee India's potential and therefore our efforts are going in the direction of giving maximum emphasis to this strata which is the fundamental grass root force of our economic development.
My dear Countrymen
We have 75 years of experience, and we have also achieved many accomplishments in these 75 years. We have cherished new dreams and taken new resolutions in 75 years of experience. But, what should be the optimum outcome of our human resources for the ‘Amrit Kaal? How to get the optimum outcome of our natural wealth? We have to move forward with this goal. I want to say something from the experience of the last few years. You must have seen the power of ‘Nari Shakti’ in courts who are working in the field of Law. Look at the public representatives in the rural area. Our ‘Nari Shakti’ is devotedly engaged in solving the problems of our villages. Look at the field of knowledge or science, the ‘Nari Shakti’ of our country is visible right at the top. Even in the police force, our ‘Nari Shakti’ is taking the responsibility of protecting the people. In every walk of life, whether it is the playground or the battlefield, the ‘Nari Shakti’ of India is coming forward with a new strength and a new belief. I can see the manifold contribution of ‘Nari Shakti’, my mothers, sisters and daughters, in the next 25 years compared to the contribution in the last 75 years of India's journey. And hence, it is beyond assessment. Everything is beyond your parameters. The more we pay attention to this aspect, the more opportunities and facilities we provide to our daughters, they will return us much more than that. They will take the country to a new height. If the considerable efforts of our ‘Nari Shakti’ are added to the hard work that is required to fulfill the dreams in this ‘Amrit Kaal’, then it will take less hard work and our time limit will also be reduced. Our dreams will be more intense, vivacious and resplendent.
Therefore, friends, let's move ahead with our responsibilities. Today I also want to thank the framers of the Constitution of India for giving us the federal structure. Our dreams are bound to be realized if we walk shoulder to shoulder by maintaining this spirit and respecting its sentiments in this ‘Amrit Kaal’. Programs may differ, working styles may differ, but resolutions can’t differ, dreams for a nation cannot be different.
Let us move towards such an era. I remember the government at the Centre did not belong to our ideology when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. But I used to follow the same mantra that the progress of Gujarat is for the progress of India. India’s progress should be at the core of our heart wherever we are. There are many states of our country, which have played a great role in taking the country forward, have led and worked as examples in many fields. This gives strength to our federalism. But today the need of the hour is that we need cooperative federalism as well as cooperative competitive federalism. We need competition for development.
Every state should feel that it is moving ahead, that it will race ahead by toiling hard. If a particular state has done 10 good tasks, others shall do 15 good tasks. If a state has completed a job in three years, others should complete the same job in two years. There should be an atmosphere of competition between the states and all the units of the government which should strive to take us to new peaks of development.
My dear countrymen,
When we talk of the 25 years of Amrit Kaal, I know that there would be many challenges, limitations and problems. We do not underestimate these. We keep on looking for ways and are constantly striving but I wish to discuss two things here. There may be many issues to discuss but considering the time constraint, I would like to talk about two things right now. And I believe that because of all these challenges and problems if we do not take corrective steps while there is still time during 25 years of 'Amrit Kaal', then it could take a turn for the worse. So, I do not want to discuss everything but would definitely want to focus on two issues. One is corruption and the other is nepotism and the dynasty system. In a democracy like India where people are struggling with poverty and do not have a place to live, there are people who do not have a place to keep their ill-gotten money. This is not an ideal situation. So we have to fight against corruption with all our might. In the last eight years, we have been successful in working for the betterment of the country by saving two lakh crore rupees which used to go into the wrong hands, using all the modern systems like Direct Benefit Transfer, Aadhaar and Mobile. Those who fled the country after looting banks during the tenure of the previous government, we have seized their property and are trying to get them back. Some have been forced to go behind the bars. We are trying to ensure that those who looted the country are compelled to return.
Brothers and sisters,
I can clearly see that we are entering a crucial period against corruption. Even the big ones will not be able to escape. With this spirit, India is now stepping into a decisive period against corruption. And I am saying this with a great responsibility from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Brothers and sisters, the corrupt are eating away the country like termites. I have to fight against it, intensify the fight and have to take it to a decisive point. So, my 130 crore countrymen, please bless me and support me! Today I have come to seek your support and cooperation so that I can fight this battle. I hope the country becomes victorious in this war. The lives of the ordinary citizens have been ruined by corruption. So, I want to make sure that the ordinary citizens are once again able to live with dignity. My dear countrymen, it is a matter of great concern that although abhorrence of corruption in the country is visible and expressed, sometimes the generosity towards the corrupt is shown which is not acceptable in any country.
And many people have gone so shameless that despite being convicted in court, having been proved corrupt, having been sentenced for imprisonment, while still serving in jail, they continue to glorify, take pride and continue to elevate their status. Unless there is hatred towards filth in the society, the consciousness for cleanliness does not arise, unless we develop hatred towards the corrupt and corruption, until we relegate these people to social shaming, such mentality will not change. And that's why we need to be very aware of corruption and corrupt people.
Another point to highlight is rampant nepotism. And whenever I talk about nepotism or dynasty, people think I am talking only in the context of politics. Not at all. Unfortunately, it is being nourished in other Indian institutions as well. Family bias Nepotism has gripped many of our institutions today. This is sadly harming the immense talent pool of our country. The future potential of my country is suffering. Those who are legitimate contenders of these opportunities and are genuinely eligible get sidelined due to nepotism. This is a good reason for corruption. Since they feel that they stand no chance to avail opportunities as per norms, these potential and deserving candidates resort to paying bribes to get a job. All of us have to work hard on fighting Nepotism by becoming more aware and creating an antipathy for this. Only such efforts can save our institutions and ingrain ethical behaviour in our future generations. This is mandatory to ensure a bright future of our institutions. Similarly, in politics too, family bias or dynasty has done the most injustice to the country's strength. It becomes a way to benefit only the family and has no connection towards the national good.
And therefore, while remembering the Constitution of India, standing under the tricolor from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I want to say with an open heart to all the countrymen- let us all join hands for the purification and cleansing of Indian politics and for the cleansing of all the institutions of India, we have to liberate the country from this family mentality and move towards taking the country forward on the basis of merit. It is more imperative now than ever. Otherwise, everyone will carry heavy resentment that s/he was deserving but could not succeed as there was no family member vouching for them in the ecosystem. Such a mentality is not good for any country.
Dear youth of my country, for your bright future, for your dreams, I seek your support in the fight against nepotism. I want your support in the fight against dynastic politics. I consider this as my constitutional responsibility. The responsibility of a democracy. I believe in the power of words spoken from the ramparts of this Red Fort. And hence I request you to support this opportunity. We have noticed this in the accolades we received at the sports world in the last few days. It’s not that we did not have such great talent in the past. It is not that our sons and daughters, the youth of India, are not achieving anything in the world of sports. But sadly they have been pushed out due to the nepotism channel. The ones that qualified to reach the competition in other countries were least bothered about winning medals for the country. But when transparency was reinstated, selection was on the merit of the sportsperson and the talent was honoured on the playgrounds. It is a moment of pride today to see the tricolor flying high and the national anthem reverberating at the stadiums globally.
One feels proud when there is freedom from dynasty and nepotism, and such results come along. My dear countrymen, there are many challenges no doubt. But if there are crores of problems before this country, then there are also crores of solutions and I have faith in 130 crore countrymen. When 130 crore countrymen take one step ahead with a set goal and the commitment to resolve, India moves 130 steps forward. We have to move forward with this capability. This is the first dawn of the ‘Amrit Kaal’ and we should not forget a single moment for the next 25 years. To live for the motherland each day, every moment of time and every particle of life will be our true tribute to the freedom fighters. Only then, the virtuous remembrance of all those who contributed in taking the country to this point in the last 75 years will be of use.
I urge the countrymen to start the ‘Amrit Kaal’ today by nurturing new possibilities, realizing new resolutions and moving ahead with confidence. The ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of freedom has turned in the direction of ‘Amrit Kaal’ and, therefore, ‘Sabka Prayas’ is necessary in this ‘Amrit Kaal’. ‘Sabka Prayas’ is going to yield this result. The spirit of Team India is going to take the country forward. This Team India of 130 crore countrymen will realize all the dreams by moving forward as a team. With this belief, speak with me,