Independence Day speech: Ayushmann Bharat scheme to be launched on Sept 25, says PM Modi

New Delhi: As India wakes up to its 72nd year of Independence on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his fifth speech at the Red Fort on August 15 announced the launch of the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme by September 25.

The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme assures a health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year to 500 million poor and vulnerable persons. Once it takes off, Ayushman Bharat will be the world’s largest public-funded health insurance programme, and if implemented successfully, would be the biggest achievement of the Modi government across sectors.

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind in his Independence Day address to the nation on Tuesday evening invoked Mahatma Gandhi and his principle of ‘ahimsa’. “The power to stay your hand is far greater than the power to strike with your hand,” President Kovind said.

Stay with us for live coverage on how India celebrates 71 years of independence today.

9am: In a 92 minute-long speech, PM Modi delivered an Independence Day speech for all — sanitation for all, health for all, skill for all, and power for all

8.51am: J&K problems can be solved with hugs not bullets: PM Modi

8.49am: Tripura, Meghalaya and many parts of Arunachal Pradesh are seeing historic peace. From 126, Left Wing Extremism is restricted to 90 districts. We are working to ensure peace across the nation: PM Modi

8.48am: Hum goli aur gaali ke raaste par nahi par gale laga ke aage badhna chahte hain. Aane wale kuch hi mahino mein Kashmir mein gaon ke logon ko apna haq jatane ka avsar milega aur panchayat chunav honge: PM Modi

8.46am: I am proud of the fact that three women judges in Supreme Court are delivering justice. Since independence, this is the first cabinet where so many women are a part of the cabinet: PM Modi

8.44am: The practice of Triple Talaq has caused great injustice to Muslim women. We are striving to end this practice but there are some people who are not wanting it to end. I promise the Muslim women that I will work to ensure justice is done to them: PM Modi

8.43am: Women officers commissioned in short service will get opportunity for permanent commission like their male counterparts: PM Modi

8.42am: We have to free our society and country from this disgusting mentality of rape. Recently in Madhya Pradesh a rapist was hanged by fast track court. We should spread this news and make people aware. Rule of law is supreme, no one can take law in their hands: PM Modi

8.41am: In today’s India there is no place for nepotism. We have ensured environmental clearances are done transparently: PM

8.38am: We will not spare the corrupt and those who stashed black money. They have ruined the country. Delhi’s streets are now free from power brokers. From the voice of power brokers, the voice of the poor is heard: PM Modi

8.34am: The honest Indian taxpayer has a big role in the progress of the country. It is due to them that so many people are fed, the lives of the poor are transformed: PM Narendra Modi

8.31am: The healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians. It is important to ensure that we free the poor of India from poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare: PM Narendra Modi

8.26am: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan will be launched on 25th September this year. It is high time we ensure that the poor of India get proper access to good quality and affordable healthcare: PM Modi

8.23am: As significant as economic growth, is dignity of the individual. Our schemes such as Ujjwala and Saubhagya Yojana are enhancing the dignity of fellow Indians: PM Modi

8.19am: Last month, WHO said 3 lakh kids were saved due to the cleanliness drive in India: PM

8.19am: Hum makkhan par lakeer nahi, patthar par lakeer kheenchne waale hain: PM Narendra Modi

8.17am: With a ‘Beej Se Bazar Tak’ approach, we are bringing exceptional reforms in the agriculture sector. Our aim is to double farmer incomes by 2022: PM Modi

8.15am: India is proud of our scientists, who are excelling in their research and are at the forefront of innovation. In the year 2022 or if possible before, India will unfurl the tricolour in space: PM Narendra Modi

8.10am: There was a time when North East India used to feel that Delhi is very far from them, but today we have brought Delhi to the doorstep of the North East: PM Narendra Modi

8.09am: India’s voice is being heard effectively at the world stage. We are integral parts of forums whose doors were earlier closed for us: PM Narendra Modi

8.06am: From being seen as among the fragile five, India is now the land of reform, perform and transform. We are all set for record economic growth: PM Narendra Modi

8.05am: Jab honsle buland hote hain, desh ke liye kuch karne ka irada hota hai toh benami sampati ka kanoon bhi lagu hota hai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

8.04am: The OROP demand was also pending for decades. People of India, our brave Army personnel had faith in us and we were able to take a decision on OROP.We will always take decisions in the interests of our nation: PM Narendra Modi

8.02am: Who did not want the GST to be passed, yet it was pending for years. Last year GST became a reality.I want to thank the business community for the success of the GST: PM Narendra Modi

8.01am: Humari desh ki sena kahin par bhi prakritik aapda ho pahunch jati hai, sankat se ghere maanv ki raksha ke liye humari sena karuna,maya,mamta ke saath pahunch jaati hai, wahi sena jab sankalp karke chal padhti hai toh surgical strike karke dushmano ke daant khatte kar aati hai: PM

8am: The demand for higher MSP was pending for years. From farmers to political parties to agriculture experts, everybody was asking about it but nothing happened. With blessings of the farmers, the decision on MSP was taken by our Government: PM Modi

7.56am: If we had continued at the same pace at which toilets were being constructed in 2013, the pace at which electrification was happening in 2013, then it would have taken us decades to complete: PM Modi

7.53am: We are very proud of what we have achieved but at the same time, we also have to look at where we have come from. That is when we will realise the unbelievable strides the nation has taken: PM Modi

7.52am: 2014 se ab tak main anubhav kar raha hun ki sawa sau crore deshwasi sirf sarkaar banakar ruke nahi, woh desh banane mein jutte hue hain: PM Narendra Modi

7.48am: The Constitution given to us by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has spoken about justice for all. We have to ensure social justice for all and create an India that is developing rapidly: PM Modi

7.46am: Next year on Baisakhi, it will be 100 years of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. I pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives: PM Narendra Modi

7.44am: Many parts of the nation witnessed good monsoon but at the same time parts of India have been severely hit by floods. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in these floods, in various parts of India: PM Modi

7.43am: Mentioning the recent achievements of INS Tarini, Modi said – We are proudly celebrating Independence Day today as six women officers of the Indian Navy, circumnavigated the globe recently.

7.40am: The recently concluded Parliament session was one devoted to social justice. The Parliament session witnessed the passage of the Bill to create an OBC Commission: PM

7.38am: We are celebrating our independence when our young people have hoisted the tricolour on Mt Everest: PM Modi

7.37am: Nation is achieving new heights; it has a new energy, says PM Modi in his address.

7.34am: The PM begins address from the Red Fort.

7.32am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad are among the guests present at Red Fort to hear PM Modi’s Independence Day speech.

7.29am: PM Modi unfurls the national flag at the Red Fort.

7.20am: PM Narendra Modi arrives at the Red Fort. Inspects Guard of Honour.

7.05am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

7am: Major Aditya Kumar, who was embroiled in a controversy after his unit fired on a stone-pelting mob in South Kashmir’s Shopian in January leading to death of three persons, is among 20 armed forces personnel named for the Shaurya Chakra award.

Rifleman Aurangzeb, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir and was brutally killed by militants in Pulwama in June when he was on his way home for Eid, will also be conferred the third highest gallantry award.

6.40am: Nearly 70,000 officials of Delhi Police are guarding the national capital and close to 10,000 personnel have been deployed at the Red Fort, where senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people will be present during the Prime Minister’s address.

6.30am: The Mughal-era Red Fort has been put under a heavy security cover along with other critical areas in the national capital. Sharpshooters will also be stationed on rooftops in the cluttered streets around the fort while helicopters will fly overhead.

A special team of snipers and commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) will form the inner layer of the security cordon at the Red Fort with anti-aircraft guns deployed to thwart drones and projectiles, senior police officials told PTI.