Singling out malnutrition as a "curse" which must be removed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday promised efforts to provide access to education and improve health care services for all citizens.
"The problem of malnutrition is a curse that we must remove. Our efforts to provide every child with access to education and to improve health care services for all citizens will continue," Singh said in his address to the nation on the occasion of the 62nd Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
The country needs to take forward initiatives for giving equal status to women and for their social and economic empowerment, he said promising to continue striving for the "development and prosperity of the country".
The Prime Minister asserted that the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has been expanding public health facilities and services in rural areas.
"We have strengthened the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and expanded the mid-day meal programme upto upper primary level in all districts of the country," he said.
The Government was establishing 6,000 new high-quality model schools, with at least one school in each block. A total of 373 new colleges are being opened in backward districts and 30 new universities, eight new IITs, seven new IIMs, 20 new IIITs, five new Indian Institutes of Science, two schools of planning and architecture, 10 new NITs and 1,000 new polytechnic institutes are coming up, he said.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission has been expanding public health facilities and services in cities, he added.