With GST and demonetisation being made an election issue in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted that he was “ready” to face any “political price” for the steps taken by his government.
“I am aware of the big political price I will have to pay for the steps I have taken, the path I have chosen and the destination I want to take the country to. But I am ready for it,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Hindustan Times Leadership Summit – 2017’.
Modi reiterated how his government’s move to demonetise high-currency notes brought large parts of the underground economy into the formal system. “Black money, which was part of a parallel economy, has become part of a formal economy,” he said, adding that Aadhaar will work as a tool to check benami property.
These comments by the PM come at a time when the Opposition, especially the Congress, is trying to corner the ruling dispensation over Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation.
Modi contrasted the turnaround made by the country since the BJP came to power, ousting the Congress-led UPA from the government in 2014. He said that India was counted among the “fragile five” countries at the global level as the country’s economy, banking system and governance structure were in a poor shape in 2014, but his government managed to make a turnaround, drawing worldwide recognition for having done so.
“When we came in 2014, what we got from the previous government was an economy which was in bad shape, our fiscal order and banking system, all were in tatters. India was then counted in the fragile five,” he said. “Today, Indians living abroad proudly hold their heads high. Slogans like ‘Ab ki baar Cameron sarkar’ and ‘Ab ki baar Trump sarkar’ are proof of the growing confidence and stature of India globally,” he said.
Modi also insisted that the top priority of his government was to create corruption-free, citizen-centric and development-friendly ecosystem in India. “Creating corruption-free, citizen centric and development-friendly ecosystem in India is our topmost priority. Confusion is created when governments work in silos. However, our government has adopted a holistic approach,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, Modi invoked late former President A P J Abdul Kalam to urge the media to give up negativity and focus on positive developments to help give the country direction.
“He (Kalam) had a few years ago asked why our media is so negative. These are not my words, (he had said) why is that, in India, we are embarrassed of our capabilities and achievements? We are a great country, we have unprecedented stories of success. Still, we refuse to accept them. Why it is so? These were Kalam’s words,” Modi said. The PM suggested that the media can discuss the issue in seminars and newsrooms to bring about an “irreversible change”.
“I urge the media to be resolute and also inspire others. Be part of this journey of resolution the way you played an active role in turning the Clean India mission into a public campaign… cooperate in giving direction to the country,” he said.