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India's moon mission this year: Dr Manmohan Singh

NEW DELHI (BNS): India hopes to carry out its moon mission this year itself, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his address from the historic Red Fort on the occasion of country's Independence Day on Friday.

"This year we hope to send an Indian space craft, Chandrayaan, to the moon. It will be an important milestone in the development of our space programme," Dr Singh said. The Indian Space Research Organisation is looking at the launch sometime in second part of October.

The PM hoped to "see a modern India, imbued by a scientific temper, where the benefits of modern knowledge flow to all sections of society."

"We have given a new deal to rural India", the Prime Minister said, while speaking about several initiatives launched for the inclusive economic growth of the country. He said that his government has increased the bank credit for the sector from Rs 81,000 crore (approx $ 20 billion) to Rs 2,25,000 crore (approx. $ 62 billion) during the past four years. "Our farms are once again green. Our godowns are once again filling up. Our farmers are once again hopeful about their future and their welfare," he added.

The Prime Minister said, "India will be transformed only when every Indian is literate, well fed, healthy and can secure gainful employment." His government has been paying special attention to the development of education in the country. "We are establishing 6000 new high quality model schools, with at least one school in each block."

As many as 373 new colleges are being opened in backward districts besides 30 new universities, 8 new IITs (Indian Institute of Technologies), 7 new IIMs (Indian Institute of Managements), 20 new IIITs (Indian Institute of Information Technologies), 5 new Indian Institutes of Science, 2 Schools of Planning and Architecture, 10 NITs (National Institute of Technologies), and a 1000 new polytechnics.

Promising to continue striving for the development and prosperity of the country, Dr. Singh assured "We will work hard to take the country to greater heights in all fields."
Stating that Government has taken special measures to insulate poorer sections from the impact of rising food and fuel prices, the Prime Minister said, "We are taking determined measures to bring prices under reasonable control." Underlining the need for atomic energy, the Prime Minister said that the nuclear agreement being negotiated with developed countries would not only end India's nuclear isolation, but also enable us to provide electricity to meet the needs of farmers, artisans, traders and industry. The Prime Minister mentioned in his speech that recommendation of Sixth Pay Commission is a step in making Government more efficient.

Stressing upon the Government's resolve to meet the challenge of terrorism, the Prime Minister urged upon the State Governments, all political parties, civil society groups and social and religious leaders to cooperate in rooting out terrorism from the country. Initiatives being taken to promote peace and stability in the North Eastern region and J&K will be taken forward, the Prime Minister said. Referring to the issue of providing the best facilities to the pilgrims of ShriAmarnath Shrine, Dr. Singh said that it could only be resolved in an atmosphere of peace and goodwill. He appealed to the people of Jammu & Kashmir to cooperate in establishing peace in the State.

Calling for defeating the terrorism, the Prime Minister emphasized that the terrorists and those who support them are enemies of the people of India and Pakistan and of peace in the region and the world. "If this issue of terrorism is not addressed, all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated", he added.

"Let us resolve today to stand together, to strengthen the unity and integrity of our country and to stand firm in our determination to build a new India of our dreams," the Prime Minister concluded.

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