With less than a week to go for his 50-day deadline on demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said there was “no question of retreating” and that there would be no “poorna viraam (full stops)” in the “campaign against corruption and black money”.
In his last Mann ki Baat of the year, Modi thanked people for enduring “pain” in wake of the cash crunch and said there were many people “who are wholeheartedly supporting the action being taken and have clearly said that this fight must be carried forward”.
He said people had written to him “in large numbers”, asking him “not to feel exhausted, not to stop and take the most stringent measures… Yeh to abhi shuruaat hai, yeh jang jeetna hai. Peeche hatne ka prashna hi nahin uthta hai (This is just the beginning. We have to win this battle. There is no question of retreating).”
Hailing people as the “real agents of change”, the Prime Minister thanked them for not only braving hardships but giving a “karara jawab (fitting reply)” to the “few who have been trying to mislead them”.
Hitting out at critics of demonetisation, he said, “saari afwaahen failayi gayin, bhrastachar aur kaale dhan jaisi ladai ko bhi saampradayikta ke rang se bhi rangne ka kitna prayas kiya gaya (So many rumours were spread, even the fight against corruption and black money was sought to be painted as communal).” But despite that, he said, people had “stood firm with their faith intact”.
Talking about the frequent seizure of currency notes, he said the “awareness and alertness” of common citizens had helped the government catch “influential people”
The Prime Minister also defended the government’s frequent change of rules on demonetisation, saying it had done so because it was a “samvedansheel sarkaar (sensitive government)” and “janata ki pareshaani kam ho (so that citizens are not subjected to hardships)”. He said, “People who cannot endorse corruption and black money openly” are the ones who have been trying to find faults with the government.
Without naming his political rivals, he said they were trying to thwart the government’s efforts. “Sattar saal se beimani aur bhrashtrachaar ke kaale karobaar me kaisi shaktiyan judi hui hain (For the past 70 years, look at the kind of forces who are involved in the murky business of dishonesty and corruption)… When our opponents keep coming up with new tactics, we have to act against them decisively, since we have resolved to eradicate corrupt, shady businesses and black money.”
He said frequent disruptions of the recently concluded Winter Session of Parliament had angered ordinary people and that “the President and Vice President also explicitly expressed their displeasure”.
He also spoke at length about the ‘Lucky Grahak Yojana’ and ‘Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana’ schemes launched by the government to promote digital transactions among consumers and traders and termed them “Christamas gifts”.
He said that for 100 days starting today, every day, 15,000 people who use digital payments would be rewarded Rs 1,000 each through lucky draws. Besides, there would be a grand draw once every week and three months later, on April 14, on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti, a mega bumper draw would be held, with the prize money in crores, Modi said.
He also wished the people on Christmas and remembered former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on his birthday.