India aims to send astronauts into space by 2022, Modi says

India to celebrate its 72nd Independence Day today

Modi further added that the veterans of the Armed Forces were demanding One Rank One Pension. "We are integral parts of forums whose doors were earlier closed for us", he reiterated.

Modi drew a comparison between the situation in 2013 and how things stand today, and said if the pace of the UPA government's past year was maintained, it would have taken decades, centuries and generations to build as many toilets, distribute as many LPG connections among the poor and lay down as much optical fibre as his government has done. When we came to power, we took the decision to provide them OROP.

"India has always advanced in space science but we have decided that by 2022 when India completes 75 years of independence, or even before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a national flag in their hands", he said.

Modi who is delivering his last Independence Day speech before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was sporting a white attire with a saffron turban. This claim, however, has been widely criticised by farmers' groups and analysts in the past, who say it is only an eyewash as the Modi government is using a lower cost of production in its calculations. "We are poised for record economic growth".

However of late, it has launched missions like Chandrayaan-1 (moon mission) and Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission) that has aroused tremendous interest among people.

Modi, however, steered clear of any mention of foreign policy, including the troubled equation with Pakistan. Delhi's streets are free from power brokers. "In today's India there is no place for nepotism".

"Earlier", he added, "there were around six crore beneficiaries of various schemes, we have stopped that".

The Prime Minister also used the stage to attack previous governments by drawing comparisons between the situation in 2013 and the present.

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"The practice of instant triple talaq had left Muslim women miserable". Our government has strived to table the bill in Parliament.

The comment was an apparent reference to International Monetary Fund's commentary on India last week in which it said the country is on track to hold its position as one of the world's fastest-growing economies as reforms start to pay off.

On Jammu & Kashmir, where the BJP pulled out of the PDP-led government in June this year, leading to its fall, Modi said his administration did not believe in "goli or gaali (bullets and abuses)", but in "hugging" people of Kashmir and taking them along, reiterating a statement also made in last year's address.

In his 80-minute speech, Modi said the pace of building highways, electrifying villages and building toilets has increased since his landslide 2014 election win that devastated the main opposition Congress party. Around 8,500 students also took part.

It is the same land, same sky, same sea, government offices, but in the pat four India has moved ahead with new zeal and hence today twice as many highways have been constructed.

Prime Minister Modi also said that under the Mudra Yojana, loans worth Rs 13 crore were issued and four crore people got the loan for the first time.

Mr Modi said, the government is making efforts to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the people and both Centre and the state governments should work together in this direction.

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