For many children and teachers who participated in the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort on Thursday, the most important takeaway from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech was the message to conserve water.
During his nearly 95-minute address to the nation, Modi flagged the growing water crisis in the country and said half of India's homes didn't have drinking water.
The words of the prime minister struck a chord with many children and their teachers who participated in the event.
Prinsu Pathak, 14, a student of Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, said, "I am sad to know that many children my age don't have access to clean drinking water. Our city is already grappling with a water crisis and steps have been taken to readdress the issue. Not only the government's, it's everybody's responsibility to save water."
Rekha Verma, a teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, said, "The main issue is that people who have enough water think it is not their problem. This attitude needs to change. Saving even half a litre of water can save somebody's life."
Lakshmi Om Prakash, a Class 8 student, who chose not to dispose of her plastic bottle which had some water left in it, said in many places where there isn't enough drinking water, children often collect water for their households. This keeps them away from school.
"I am surely going to do my best and ask others, including my parents, relatives and friends, to get involved. Together we can make a difference in the lives of kids like us," she said.
In his sixth consecutive Independence Day address, Modi announced roll out of 'Jal Jivan' mission to provide piped drinking water to all households and said his government will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore for it.
A Class 5 student, Sunit Gupta, said it is essential to conserve water because there's a scarcity.
"After using a tap, we should close it. I will also tell my friends to not waste water," she said.
Asha Mahalwal, a teacher at Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Roop Nagar, said, "We teach children to close the tap when it is not in use and to minimise flushing of toilets. We ask them to make every effort to save water. This effort needs greater participation of people. The prime minister's speech will inspire everyone."
Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi reiterated that providing drinking water to all people remained a priority.
"The movement towards water conservation has to take place at the grassroots level. It cannot become a mere government programme. People from all walks of life have to be integrated in this movement," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)