Narendra Modi's First 100 Days - August 21
PM Modi's Independence Day Speech
On August 15th, Prime Minister Modi delivered an Independence Day speech that broke precedent. For the first time in over three decades, the speech saw the Prime Minister passionately speak extempore without the protection of bullet-proof glass, a hugely symbolic gesture. Though it was directed at the masses, with messaging around providing better sanitation, appealing for women’s rights and demanding hard work, the speech also had something for the markets, indicating that India is now open for business, with fewer hurdles to industrialization.
Manufacturing and job-creation:
“I want to appeal to all the people world over— come, make in India. Come, manufacture in India. Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here,” said Mr. Modi. Apart from the initiatives taken to allow FDI in manufacturing, infrastructure and defense, this open invitation to global companies, coupled with the resolve to create the digital infrastructure for a "clean and skill based" India, that will provide information and services in a timely and transparent manner indicates India’s intent to move to an export-oriented model of manufacturing with an openness to creating a conducive environment for foreign companies.
Identifying that "People in this nation have mobile phones but they don't have bank accounts," Mr. Modi announced a financial inclusion scheme that will not only universalize access to banking but will provide for a bank account, a debit card and an insurance amount of $1600 to poor families. This scheme will be the first step towards introducing more effective targeted subsidies and making the switch to direct benefit transfers.
Mr. Modi called for efforts to ensure better sanitation across the country, and identified the lack of toilets for women as a deterrent to women’s dignity and safety. He urged parliamentarians to use their resources and the corporate sector to prioritize the building and maintaining of separate toilets as part of their corporate social responsibility by next year for girls in schools across the country. This appeal has already triggered responses from corporates and the public sector. For example, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Overseas Bank and the Bharti Foundation have all earmarked substantial budgets for the cause.
Abolition of the Planning Commission:
In line with his "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance" mantra, PM Modi announced the replacement of the Planning Commission that was responsible for all aspects of development planning with a think tank chaired by the Prime Minister himself “that would respect the federal structure of the country” and take the states along as engines of growth.