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Rediff.com  » News » I-Day PHOTOS: Sectarian ideologies need to stopped, says PM

I-Day PHOTOS: Sectarian ideologies need to stopped, says PM

August 15, 2013 11:48 IST

Sectarian ideologies need to stopped, says PM

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said "narrow and sectarian ideologies" would weaken democracy and their growth needs to be prevented, in remarks seen as a veiled attack on Narendra Modi's style of politics ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Read PM's full I-Day speech here

Watch! PM unfurling the tricolour at Red Fort

Buzzwords of PM's speech

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of historic Red Fort on the 67th Independence Day, he enlisted the measures taken by the UPA government over the last 10 years to make the nation prosperous and stable and said the people need to decide in which direction the country should go in the next decade.

"There can be no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a modern, progressive and secular country. Such ideologies divide out society and weaken our democracy. We should prevent them from growing," he said.

Though Singh did not mention anyone directly, he was apparently referring to Modi whom BJP is virtually projecting as its face for the next Lok Sabha elections but Congress sees him as a "divisive" figure.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing the nation on the occasion of 67th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort, in Delhi.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'All citizen will be equal partners in a prosperous India'

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"We need to strengthen those traditions of our country which teach us to promote tolerance and respect for thought processes different from ours. I would appeal to all political parties, all sections of our society and the public at large to work in this direction," the Prime Minister said.

He said there was a need to build an environment of political stability, social cohesion and security to ensure that the country continues to progress and gets rid of poverty, disease and ignorance.

"Our India will be prosperous and all its citizens will be equal partners in this prosperity, irrespective of their religion, caste, region or language," he said.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inspecting the Guard of Honour at Red Fort
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB
Tags: India

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'All steps will be taken to stop Pakistan's dastardly acts'

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In his 30-minute speech, Singh spoke on a host of issues including relations with Pakistan against the backdrop of recent killing of five Indian soldiers on the Line of Control in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a strong message to Pakistan, he said anti-India activities emanating from there will have to stop for relations to improve and asserted that all steps will be taken to prevent "dastardly" acts like the recent killing of jawans on the LoC.

In his 10th consecutive Independence Day address and his last before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Singh said India has strived for friendship with its neighbouring countries.

"However, for relations with Pakistan to improve it is essential they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity," the Prime Minister said from the 17th century Fort amid tight security.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chanting 'Jai Hind' from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of 67th Independence Day.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'We have not been successful in preventing Naxal attacks'

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On the issue of internal security, he said terrorist and Naxal violence in the country has reduced but the area of national security calls for constant vigil.

"We have not been successful in preventing Naxal attacks that happen from time to time," he said, adding Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh on May 25 "frontal attack on our democracy."

Congress lost some top leaders, including state unit chief, in that attack.

Singh said despite some worrisome communal incidents in 2012 and this year, the last nine years have been good for communal harmony. Although he did not elaborate, his mention about this year's communal violence seemed to be reference to last week's riots in Kishtwar in J&K.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receiving the Guard of Honour from the saluting dias at Red Fort
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'Deeply pained that we lost brave hearts in Sindhurakshak mishap'

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Singh expressed anguish over the loss of Navy's frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak in an accident in Mumbai in which 18 soldiers are feared to have lost their lives.

"We are deeply pained that we lost the submarine, INS Sindurakshak in an accident yesterday. Eighteen brave sailors are feared to have lost their lives," he said.

Talking about his government's achievements, Singh said, "we have journeyed a large distance in the last decade. But much remains to be done. The process of change that we have witnessed will be continued in the coming time."

He noted that economic growth had been slow this year but said the government is working hard to remedy the situation.

"I believe that this phase of slow growth in India will not last long... The average rate of economic growth that we have attained in the last nine years shows what we are capable of," he said.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being received by the Defence Minister AK Antony on his arrival at Red Fort.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'Pace of development is the highest in any decade so far'

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In the last nine years, the economy has grown at an annual average rate of 7.9 per cent, the Prime Minister said, adding "This pace of development is the highest in any decade so far."

On the economic slowdown, he said India is not the only country facing this situation as world over there has been a slump in export markets and growth in developing countries have been affected.

He made a special mention of P V Narasimha Rao, perhaps for the first time in his Independence Day address, highlighting how the then Prime Minister had successfully negotiated a major economic crisis in 1991 and initiated reforms.

In an apparent reference to the controversy over poverty figures, Singh said measuring poverty is a "difficult task".

"There are diverse views about what constitutes poverty. But whatever definition we may adopt, it cannot be denied that the pace of reduction in poverty has increased after 2004," he said.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying floral tributes at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat on the occasion of the 67th Independence Day.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'Hope Food Security Bill will be passed shortly'

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On the issue of development, Singh said many states which had been considered backward for a long time are now progressing rapidly.

As the Lok Sabha this week failed to discuss the National Food Security Bill for two consecutive days due to disruptions, Singh hoped that the legislation will be passed shortly.

"The Food Security Bill is now before Parliament and we hope it will be passed shortly," he said pointing that the proposed law will benefit 75 per cent of rural population and half of urban population.

Under the law, about 81 crore Indians would be entitled to receive rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and coarse grains at Re 1 per kg.

The Prime Minister referred to the midday meal tragedy in Bihar last month in which 23 children died and said it will be reformed to ensure hygenic food is provided.

The Prime Minister said the government will kick-start a number of new infrastructure projects including 8 new airports and two new sea-ports in the coming months to boost sluggish economic growth.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurling the Tricolour flag at the ramparts of Red Fort.
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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'New employment opportunities will be generated'

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Listing out steps taken to boost infrastructure in the last nine years, he said about 2 lakh kilometer of new roads have been constructed for connecting villages under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna.

More than 37,000 km of new highways have been built to facilitate travel and trade, while more than 40 airports have been built or upgraded.

"Our growth will accelerate, new employment opportunities will be generated and there will be improvement in the infrastructure sector," he said.

Stating that inadequate supply of coal had affected electricity generation, he said, "this has been resolved to a large extent."

Singh said the government has eased investment caps in several sectors and simplified procedures to boost flow of foreign direct investment.

Government will shortly launch a new scheme under which those who successfully acquire new skills will be given grant of Rs 10,000, he said.

The function, held at the heavily-guarded fort built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, was attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Union ministers, including Defence Minister A K Antony, Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively, and foreign dignitaries.

 


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the saluting dias at the Guard of Honour ceremony, at Red Fort, on the occasion of the 67th Independence Day
Photographs: Courtesy: PIB

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