New Delhi:  Battling the charge of policy paralysis in the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday blamed lack of political consensus for slow growth and vowed to do everything to boost economy through investments while linking development processes to national security.

Text of PM’s Independence Day speech

India’s journey towards Independence

Fight Corruption

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of historic Red Fort on the occasion of 66th Independence Day, he promised to work for reducing corruption in public life and sought the help of all political parties in passing the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in the Parliament in this regard.

Talking about corruption over which his government has been facing an onslaught from civil society and opposition, Singh said, "We will continue our efforts to bring more transparency and accountability in the work of public servants and to reduce corruption."

While doing so, steps will be taken to see that the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest is not affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation, he said.

In this context, Singh referred to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha last year and is now pending with the Rajya Sabha.

"We hope that all political parties will help us in passing this Bill in the Rajya Sabha," he said.

"Our commitment to make the work of the government and administration transparent and accountable stands," he said.

"But we will also take care that these measures do not result in a situation in which the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest gets affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation," the Prime Minister said.

Develop Healthcare

During his 35-minute speech in Hindi, Singh made a host of announcements in social sector like expanding the national health scheme and electrification, undertaking skill development and assessment of teachers.

Encourage Foreign Investors

The 79-year-old economist Prime Minister also sought to encourage foreign investors, who have been apprehensive after certain recent taxation decisions, that there would be "no barriers" to investment in India.

He said the government will leave no stone unturned to encourage investment in the country so that entrepreneurs can make a substantial contribution to the economy.

"To attract foreign capital, we will have to create confidence at the international level that there are no barriers to investment in India," he said.

Foreign investors have been apprehensive after some recent decisions on tax matters like retrospective amendment and General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR).

Assam Violence

He referred to violence in Assam and promised that the causes would be looked into and steps taken to ensure that such incidents are not repeated anywhere else.

Turning to recent violence in Assam, he said it was "very unfortunate" and promised to make every effort to find out reasons behind the clashes in which at least 77 people have lost their lives.

"I know that these incidents have resulted in the disruption of the lives of a large number of people. We fully sympathise with those families which have been affected by the violence," Singh said.

He said the government was doing "everything possible" to provide relief to the people affected by the violence.

The Prime Minister said the Centre would work with the state governments to ensure that such incidents do not occur in any parts of the country.

On overall situation in the North East, Singh said there has been reduction in violence in the region as the Centre has engaged a number of groups in talks so that they could join the mainstream of development.

Internal Security

He highlighted that internal security in the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, had improved but said the recent blasts in Pune were a reminder that more needed to be done.

PM for Introspection

In his ninth consecutive Independence Day address, only the third Prime Minister to do so after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Singh said there was a need to "introspect what remains to be done" so that "we learn from our failures and build on our successes".

Economic Growth

"As far as creating an environment within the country for rapid economic growth is concerned, I believe that we are not being able to achieve this because of a lack of political consensus on many issues," Singh said.

"Time has now come to view the issues which affect our development processes as matters of national security," he said.

Policy Paralysis

The statement assumes significance as the government has been facing the charge of policy paralysis with key economic reforms decisions, like FDI in retail, being stuck due to opposition by allies. The Prime Minister said India was being affected by the "difficult phase" encountered by the global economy.

"Also there have been domestic developments which are hindering our economic growth," he said, pointing out that last year, the GDP grew by 6.5 percent.

Hoping to "do a little better" this year, Singh said, "I believe that this period of difficulties will not last long. Even as we face these problems, we should be encouraged by the fact that we have achieved extraordinary successes in many areas in the last 8 years. We now need to replicate these successes in newer areas."

He also referred to the Public Procurement Bill and said such measures will increase transparency in decision making.


Among the announcements, Singh said the National Rural Health Mission will be expanded to cover all towns of the country by converting the scheme into National Health Mission.

The NRHM was launched in 2005 to provide health services in every village in the country.

The Prime Minister said the government is also formulating a scheme for distribution of free medicines through government hospitals and health centres.

New Job Opportunities

He said in a bid to create new job opportunities for youth in the coming years, government is making efforts to put in place a system for training 8 crore people in many new skills.

"We also wish to provide short duration training courses of 6 weeks to 6 months...the National Skill Development Council has formulated a major scheme for skill development in which 8 crore people will be trained in the next 5 years," he said.

He said the government is considering the establishment of a National Skill Development Authority so that skill development programmes all over the country can be implemented in a coordinated manner.

"We would also need contribution from the private sector and non-Governmental organisations in this work," the Prime Minister said.

He also said the government was targeting to provide electricity to each and every household in our country in the next 5 years and to also improve the supply of electricity.

Housing Scheme

In good news for urban poor, Singh said the Rajiv Housing Loan Scheme will soon be launched which will give them relief on interest on loans less than Rs five lakh.

Singh also promised that the government will ensure that all households benefit from bank services in the next two years.

Focusing on improving quality of education, he announced that a new mechanism will be soon be put in place to continuously assess teachers and ensure participation of parents to keep a check on quality of teaching.

Pune Blasts

At the same time, he referred to the bomb blasts in Pune earlier this month and said it pointed to the "need for much more work to be done in the area of national security. We will continue to do this work with sincerity in the future also."


He said naxalism is "still a serious problem" although success has been achieved in many areas of internal security, including on Jammu and Kashmir.

Development Schemes

"We have initiated new schemes of development in areas affected by naxal violence to ensure that the grievances of the people residing there, especially our brothers and sisters belonging to Scheduled Tribes, can be removed and their lot can be improved," he said.


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