In his 15 August marathon address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined India's unity and diversity and said the poison of casteism and communal frenzy have no place in the country.
Modi, in his second Independence Day address, focussed largely on the issue of corruption and asserted that the steps taken by his government over the last 15 months to deal with the "termite" had started yielding results.
Responding to opposition criticism that nothing is happening on the problem of black money, he said "some people love to spread pessimism" as he informed that about Rs 6500 cr of undeclared money has been disclosed during the compliance window provided by the government.
He spoke about a number of initiatives to end corruption and bring transparency and proposed doing away with the practice interviews for small jobs, contending that this becomes a route for corruption.
During the 85-minute address, he talked about the much-anticipated 'One-Rank, One-Pension', saying the government has "in-principle accepted" it and he was hopeful of a positive outcome of the ongoing discussions which are in the "last stage". He mentioned the announcements made during his first Independence Day address last year and said many of them had been implemented in a time-bound manner.
The government programmes are focussed on welfare of the poor and other under privileged sections while ensuring reduction in inflation and efforts to boost growth to double digit, he said. While talking about efforts for development, Modi made a strong pitch for communal harmony and peace.
"The world keeps singing praise about India's diversity and greatness. Like diversity, the country also has simplicity and unity, which are our capital. These have been nurtured over the centuries. This capital has to be preserved," he said. "Be it the poison of casteism or the frenzy of communalism, these have no place in the country and should not be allowed to grow. These ills have to be eradicated through the nectar of development," he said.