Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated a major portion of his maiden Independence Day speech at the Red Fort in New Delhi to the girl child and women of the country.
Modi talked about increasing incidents of crimes against women, building separate toilets for girls in schools, stopping female foeticide and also asked parents to treat sons and daughters equally.
Modi, who has been criticised for not speaking against rising numbers of rapes in the country, said such incidents bring a bad name to the entire nation.
"Our heads hang in shame when we hear news about rape," Modi said.
The PM said the law will take its own path but parents need to take responsibility to bring "sons who deviated from right path" back.
"After all the person who has raped is someone's son. As parents we ask daughters where they go and what they do. Do we dare to ask our sons where they go and what they do? Why not put the same yardstick for sons too," said Modi.
Prime Minister Modi Friday also called upon all schools to construct separate toilets for girl students within a year.
"Every school should build separate toilets for girls in a year so that our girl children do not leave schools," said Modi.
He also said that it should not be difficult for the country to build toilets.
"It is a shame that our women have to wait for darkness to go out in the open to defecate," he said.
"You would be think that from the Red Fort he is talking about cleanliness and toilets but I am speaking from the heart," Modi added.
Modi drew attention to the dismal sex ratio in the country and talked about sportswomen who made the country proud and brought medals at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
"Our sportspersons have brought us immense pride. So many brought us medals and I am proud that there are several daughters too."
"Have we seen our sex ratio? Who is creating this imbalance in society? Not Almighty! I appeal to doctors not to kill the girl child," he said addressing the nation on its 68th Independence day.
He said: "I appeal to parents don't sacrifice your daughters in the hope for sons."
Modi said he knew of families which had five sons and big houses but sent away their aged parents to old age home.
"At the same time, I have seen families with only one daughter who has not married to take care of her parents," he said.