Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his seventh consecutive Independence Day speech at the Red Fort in Delhi on Saturday after unfurling the national flag in the midst of strict social distancing and safety precautionary measures in view of the celebrations taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

His second Independence Day speech since he was elected for a second term, PM Modi spoke on the government's various efforts for the development of the country among which included Indian researchers' efforts for the COVID-19 vaccines, the distribution of sanitary pads at Re 1, the launch of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the introduction of a fibre optic cable network across all villages of the nation and several other topics. 

PM Modi said India is currently working on three COVID-19 vaccines, which are at various stages of trials. He stated that a roadmap for their distribution will be announced once final clearances have been acquired. He went on to extend his gratitude for the undying efforts of all healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, who have been working tirelessly amid the pandemic. 

He also spoke about his government's efforts for women empowerment with many across the nation praising him for taking a step towards breaking the taboo against menstruation as he made a mention of sanitary pads. He stated that about 5 crore women have to date got sanitary pads at Re 1 through more than 6,000 Jan Aushadhi centres and emphasized the steps being taken for their health and well-being. Committees have also been set for weddings so that the money can be used at an appropriate time. He added that more women are now leaders with the Navy and Air Force inducting them in combat, while the government has gone on to abolish triple talaq. 

Speaking at India's 74th Independence Day celebrations, PM Modi then went on to launch the National Digital Health Mission stating that the "completely technology-based" initiative would go on to revolutionise the health sector across the country. He explained that Indians would be getting an ID card containing information in regard to his/her medical conditions, with the card to be used to access health services and medicines. He said the health information of every Indian will be logged in this card during their visit to a doctor or a pharmacy. 

Addressing the nation, PM Modi also announced that a fibre optic cable network will connect every village in India within 1,000 days. He added that nearly 1.5 lakh panchayats across the country have gone online since the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power five years back and that only 60 panchayats were connected to such networks prior to 2014. He stated that these fibre optic networks, which are considered the future of high-speed broadband services, will allow the transfer of data at speeds close to 10 GB per second.