Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh hailed India’s economic, technological progress, expressed his sympathy to the families affected by floods in Uttarakhand and said there was no place for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a secular nation in his address to the country. Addressing the nation on the 67th Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi, the Prime Minister mentioned the country’s economic prosperity propelled by record food-grain production in 2011-12 and stressed the importance of the Food Security Bill, recently tabled in the parliament, that would benefit 75% of rural on and half of urban population. If this law is enacted, 810 million Indians would be entitled to receive rice at US $0.0488 (Rupees 3) per kg, wheat at $0.0325 (Rs 2) per kg and coarse grains at $ 0.0162 (Rs 1) per kg. This is the largest effort of its kind in the whole world, he said in his address released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). “We have been able to implement this law only because of the hard work of our farmers,” Dr Singh said. “India’s food-grain production reached a record 259 Million tonnes in 2011-12. Without rapid agricultural growth, we cannot achieve our goal of making our villages prosperous.” We now see clear indications of enhanced economic prosperity in our rural areas. In the period 2004 to 2011, rural per-capita consumption has increased four times faster than earlier, he added. Dr Singh lauded the country’s infrastructure development with 200,000 kms of new roads built to connect villages, 37,000 kms of new highways and 40 airports either upgraded or built.