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PM Narendra Modi delivered 7th consecutive speech on 74th Independence Day; Announced Launch of New Projects

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PM announces launch of National Digital Health MissionOn August 15, 2020, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi announced new projects in his 86 minutes speech (1 hour 26 minutes) during the 74th Independence Day from Red Fort, New Delhi. It was his 7th consecutive Independence Day speech and focused on the themes of “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)”, “Vocal for local” and “Make in India to Make for World”. The announcements are as follows:

PM announced launch of National Digital Health Mission; rolled out in 6 UTs

PM Narendra Modi announced the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) under which every Indian will get a health ID that will store the individual’s medical records. It will be implemented through National Health Authority (NHA), which is also responsible for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY). The finance ministry has approved a budget of Rs 470 crore for the proposal, but the final NHA proposal may not seek more than Rs 400 crore.

  • This decision has been taken to enable access to timely, safe and affordable healthcare through a ‘citizen-centric’ approach from various health facilities in the country.
  • In this regard the mission has been rolled out in 6 Union Territories (UTs) viz. Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
  • The mission will be implemented pan-India after studying the initial results of the pilot launch.

How will it work?

The NDHM comprises of six key building blocks or digital systems- HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.

  • The health ID provided will act as an individual’s health account containing every test, disease, diagnosis, prescriptions, medical reports, and summaries of previous discharge from hospitals for ailments.
  • All of these digital products except e-Pharmacy and telemedicine have been deployed and are up and running.

Notably, the core activities and verifications like generation of Health ID or approval of a doctor/facility will remain with the government while additional components, like Personal Health Record (PHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions can be developed by private players as per the guidelines.


-NDHM aims to liberate citizens from the challenges of finding the right doctors, seeking appointment with them, payment of consultation fee, etc.

-It will also reduce overall healthcare expenses as the unnecessary duplicity of tests can be avoided which include expensive tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and other imaging tests.

About National Health Authority (NHA)
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Indu Bhushan
Headquarter– New Delhi

–PM Modi announces optical fibre link connecting Lakshadweep, mainland India

In order to boost mobile and broadband communication between mainland India and the group of islands situated on the Laccadive Sea, off the southwestern coast of India, PM Narendra Modi set a target of 1,000 days to provide submarine optical fibre connectivity to connect Lakshadweep with mainland India. The Department of telecommunications (DoT) under the Ministry of Communications will oversee the project.

About Optical Fiber Connectivity:

The government aims to connect all gram panchayats and villages in the country via BharatNet. The Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government initiated the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) programme in 2011, but the Modi government renamed the programme as BharatNet in 2015, which is the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fiber being implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) – a special purpose vehicle under the Telecom Ministry.

  • It envisages laying of about 8 lakh kilometre of incremental optical fibre cable (OFC) to all the 2,50,000-plus Gram Panchayats (GP) in the country at an estimated cost of Rs 42,068 crore ($6.2 billion)
  • The project is being implemented in three phases. Phase 1 covered 1 lakh gram panchayats, Phase 2 targeting 1.5 lakh, and Phase 3 is supposed to focus on infrastructure up-gradation of the existing facility.
  • The phase2 of the project was supposed to be deployed in March 2020 but missed the deadline and now it is shifted to August 2021. 

–PM announced project for conservation of Gangetic Dolphins

On the lines of “Project Tiger” and “Project Elephant”, PM Modi announced the “Project Dolphin” 

To give a stronger impetus for the conservation of the Gangetic Dolphins which were declared National Aquatic Species in 2010. It is a 10-year-long project led by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Keshav Javadekar. The project involves conservation of Dolphins and the aquatic habitat through the use of modern technology specially in enumeration and anti-poaching activities. 

  • The Gangetic river dolphin is a species of freshwater dolphins primarily found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In India, these dolphins are sighted in long deep river reaches in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • As per official figures, there are around 3,700 Gangetic River Dolphins in India.
  • River dolphins act as indicators of healthy river ecosystems. Their conservation would also ensure controlling river pollution and improving the availability of fishes and enhancing economies of local communities through sustainable fishery.

–Launch of Project Lion to conserve Asiatic Lion announced by PM

PM Modi announced “Project Lion” for the conservation of endangered Asiatic Lion involving habitat development by engaging modern technologies in management and addressing the issue of diseases in lion and its associated species through advanced world-class research and veterinary care. The project would also address the Human-Wildlife conflict.

–Committee set up to reconsider minimum age of marriage for women

The centre has set up a committee under the chairmanship of Jaya Jaitley to reconsider the minimum age for marriage for women and appropriate action will be taken after a report is submitted. The government is focused towards equal opportunities for self-employment and employment to women.

–Ladakh, Leh, Kargil to be India’s first large carbon neutral region

As a 7500 MW (megawatt) solar park is being built in Ladakh for electricity and infrastructure development in the region, the Ladakh, Leh and Kargil region will be developed and declared to be a carbon neutral region.

  • Though some villages in Kerala and Manipur have already adopted the concept of carbon neutral villages, but this will be the first large region to be carbon neutral.
  • Carbon neutrality means annual zero net anthropogenic (human caused or influenced) CO2 emissions by a certain date. 

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