Modi scraps Plan panel

On I-Day, PM invites world to come, 'Make in India'

Modi scraps Plan panel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a major announcement of replacing the Planning Commission with a new think tank, and declared that his government would deliver on promises made to the electorate.

In his maiden Independence Day speech, Modi said the new think tank, which may be called the National Reforms and Development Commission, will undertake a deeper study of the country’s problems and offer solutions with the involvement of states.

The prime minister also sent out a strong message of his government being in command to undertake big development projects across the country and usher in the required changes.

Emphasising that he wishes to work as Pradhan Sevak (Prime Servant) and not Pradhan Mantri (PM), Modi announced a scheme for the financial inclusion of the poor by providing them with bank accounts having built-in insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.

Modi said that the “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana” would offer credit cards, which could be used to offset any crisis and eventually help in preventing suicides among farmers and other poor sections.

Sweeping away the perception emerging from the NDA’s tough stand at the WTO, Modi called on the global community to “Come, Make in India”... from electrical to electronics, automobiles to agro value addition, paper or plastic to satellites or submarines. “Our country is powerful. Come, I am giving you an invitation,” he said, in a bid to boost the manufacturing sector.

At the same time, he exhorted the youth to acquire the technical knowledge to export “Made in India” goods, hitting out at Indians’ fascination for foreign products.

Talking about sectarian differences plaguing the country, Modi urged people to shun the “poison” of all kinds of violence by calling for a decade-long moratorium so that the benefits of development could trickle down to the poor.

His appeal to spurn the “poison of casteism, communalism, regionalism, discrimination on social and economic basis” came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee condemned the “poison-drips” of bigotry in his address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day.

The prime minister, sporting a kurta pyjama and traditional headgear (safa), banked on his oratory skills to speak extempore, occasionally referring to written talking points to emotively engage the masses. 

In an apparent ‘parenting lesson’ to check crime against women, he requested parents to not only monitor the activities of girls but even keep a tab on the boys, because after all, “a rapist is someone’s son”.

Lamenting that women still have to defecate in the open, he appealed to parliamentarians to utilise MPLAD funds to construct toilets, and ensure separate toilets for girls in schools across the country.

He called on the corporate sector to chip in for the cause and accomplish the target in one year. He also announced the ‘MP Model Village Scheme’ under which each Member of Parliament would adopt one village having a population of three to five thousand, in his/her constituency every year, developing at least three such villages before the next general elections.

The blueprint of the scheme would be ready on the birth anniversary of socialist Jai Prakash Narayan on October 11 this year, he said. The idea to adopt and build smart villages with modern facilities is akin to the ‘smart city’ concept that was outlined in the BJP manifesto and later in the Budget.

Some parts of his address drew heavily from his earlier campaign speeches and the manifesto.

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