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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to turn India into a developed nation in 25 years, by the centenary of India’s independence. Addressing the nation on its 76th Independence day, Modi also urged Indians to focus on innovation and help root out corruption and nepotism.

The World Bank currently classifies India as a lower-middle-income country, the second from the bottom of the four income groups it puts countries into—low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high income. While the multilateral institution junked the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ nomenclature some years back, a developed nation would still correspond with a high-income country.

According to the latest World Bank statistics, India’s average gross income per capita, at $2,170 in 2021, was ahead of Nigeria at $2,100 and Pakistan at $1,500 but trailed Bangladesh at $2,620 and Bhutan at $2,840.

Modi said the people of India, which he termed an aspirational society, want positive changes and want them at a fast pace. “Our aspirational society has waited for a long time. But now they are not ready to force their future generations to live in wait, and hence the first dawn of this ‘Amrit Kaal’ has brought a huge golden opportunity for us to fulfil the aspirations," the prime minister said from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Stressing the need for innovation and research, Modi added ‘Jai Anusandhan’ to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan—‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan"—and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘Jai Vigyan’.

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He outlined five commitments for the next 25 years for India, naming them ‘Panch Pran of Amrit Kaal’. The commitments include the goal of developed India, removing traces of colonial mindset, taking pride in the country’s roots, and unity and sense of duty among the citizens.

“In this Amrit Kaal (next 25 years), we have to come together and work towards another big goal of a developed India."

The call for working towards a developed India comes at a time the economy is facing several challenges amid the pandemic and high levels of inflation. Nevertheless, the economy grew 4.1% in the March quarter and by 8.7% in the year ended 31 March.

Reiterating the call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, he said making the country self-reliant is the responsibility of every citizen and every government.

The government has announced several measures, including production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes, to boost domestic manufacturing and place India in the middle of the global supply chain as companies worldwide look to cut reliance on China, known as the factory of the world.

Calling upon citizens to support the fight against corruption, he said nepotism is a vice in politics and other institutions. “Our efforts are that whoever has looted our country, they will have to return the money, and we are making efforts towards that."

He attributed the recent success of Indian athletes at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham to transparency in the selection. “We saw in the recently concluded sports events India did well. It’s not that we didn’t have talent earlier, but the transparent selection has led to Indians scoring medals," he said.

He also called for competitive federalism, along with cooperative federalism, to accelerate the pace of growth in the country.

“The need of the hour is cooperative, competitive federalism. Let there be a healthy spirit of competition among the states on progressing in different sectors," Modi said.

Emphasizing research and development in the country, he said that the government’s efforts are towards supporting the youth for research. Keeping in view the need for research, the government is expanding the space and deep ocean missions, he said.

On the progress in the Digital India campaign and local production of semiconductors, the prime minister said that 5G telecom services would soon be available in India. Recently, the government auctioned 5G spectrum and received bids worth more than 1.5 trillion.

He further said that digitalization would also bring about a transformation in the education ecosystem, a revolution in health infrastructure and an improvement in the lifestyles of the citizens.

Regarding Digital India and the growing startups, he said that the people in the startup ecosystem come from tier-II and tier-III cities or in villages and belong to poor families. “These are our youngsters coming before the world today with new discoveries," he said.

On the National Education Policy, he said: “I look with hope the way the new National Education Policy has been formulated with a lot of brainstorming, with the exchange of ideas from various people and is at the root of the country’s education policy. The skill that we have emphasized is such a power, which will give us the strength to be free from slavery," he said.

On global warming, Modi said that India could show the world the path towards solving the problem of global warming.

Noting that diversity is the strength of India, the prime minister said: “Being the ‘mother of democracy’ gives India the inherent power to scale newer heights."

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