Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his greetings to the nation on the occasion of India's 68th Independence Day on Friday.
"Greetings to my fellow Indians on Independence Day! May our Tricolour fly high & our nation scale new heights of development. Jai Hind," Modi tweeted.
Modi visited Raj Ghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi before arriving in Red Fort to deliver his first speech as the Prime Minister on the Independence Day.
Modi is likely to speak extempore, breaking from tradition. Traditionally, Prime Ministers read out a prepared text while addressing the nation on the Independence Day.
Government sources said Modi will have written points on which he will build his address. A big team of officials from Press Information Bureau, along with translators, have been lined up for immediate conversion of the address into a written transcript, PTI reported.
In his address, the Prime Minister is expected to outline his vision and spell out the agenda in terms of programmes and policies to be implemented during his tenure.
He is also expected to speak on issues related to foreign policy.
India's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel may figure prominently in Modi's speech, as he is likely to name the NDA government's ambitious 'housing for all' scheme in urban areas after the 'Iron Man' of the country.
Patel will replace Rajiv Gandhi after whom the existing housing scheme for urban poor, the Rajiv Awas Yojana, was named. The housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry will be the nodal ministry for implementing the scheme.
Modi is also likely to announce his government's decision to push highway construction target from the existing 20km per day to 30km per day. The UPA government had failed to achieve its target of 20km per day.
The Prime Minister may also formally unveil the National Gramin Awas Mission for the rural India. The mission, to be called GRAM, will replace the Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) with more outlays and revised targets. According to the rural development ministry, GRAM would help focus attention on improving living condition rather than just offering shelter with sufficient thought to inter-related considerations of basic amenities.
The Prime Minister could also elaborate on Syama Prasad Mookerjee RURBAN mission, which envisages strengthening rural infrastructure. First announced in finance minister Arun Jaitley's speech, the mission is aimed at providing urban facilities in rural India. Modi may bring it up again in his speech to make an impression on the rural audience.
Keeping in mind the global trends, the government will lay a strong emphasis on digitalisation of education which may also find a reflection Modi's speech.
Campus Connect, national digital library, India Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform, national repository of open education resources are some of the programmes in this direction.
Under the Campus Connect programme, 21,000 colleges will be made Wi-Fi enabled. The national digital library will work as a national knowledge asset — the key driving force for education, research, innovation, and knowledge.
(with PTI inputs)