Facing criticism from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over corruption in Rafale deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday used the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas inaugural session to hit back at the Congress party for the corruption under its rule, and said that his government has over the last four-and-half years saved funds to the tune of Rs 4.91 lakh crore, which was siphoned off in the past.
Using the platform to woo the NRIs, Modi — while speaking at the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi, the biennial flagship event for the NRIs — said that the BJP-led government “has changed the way the country was being governed in the last four-and-a-half years.”
Without naming former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Modi referred to his famous statement, “A former prime minister once said that only 15 per cent of the money sent from the Centre reached the beneficiary people in villages.”
To a cheering crowd of NRIs and supporters from his home constituency, Varanasi, he said, “The party that ruled for so long and the system that it built for the governance of the country, the then prime minister admitted the problem. They diagnosed the ailment but did not treat the illness. Even in the 10 -15 years of rule thereafter, they did not try to plug the pilferage of 85 per cent of resources.”
Addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas programme in Varanasi. Watch. https://t.co/BrhVZTLNxb
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 22, 2019
Modi said that the NDA government stopped “loot and leakage” of the resources from the system since coming to power in 2014. He said, “We have plugged the leakage completely. In the last four-and-a-half years, we have transferred Rs 5.78 lakh crore or about 80 billion dollar to people’s bank accounts directly for various purposes.”
“Had the country been run by the old system, Rs 4.91 lakh crore of Rs 5.78 lakh crore would have leaked out of the system. Had we not changed the system, the resources would have been looted in the same manner as admitted by the former prime minister,” Modi said.
“Earlier, there was no political will or policy to stop the leakage, now, we have a policy to transfer the amount directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries,” he said.
Modi also pointed out the case of fake beneficiaries availing benefits of government-run schemes.
He said that the BJP-led government “identified 7 crore people who were not born but were taking benefits from the government…They were all living only on paper…This is a glimpse of the change that we have brought in the last four and a half years.”
External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who also spoke at the occasion, said that the importance of PBD deteriorated between 2004 and 2014. “It had become a mere ritual, but Modi gave a new lease of life,” she said.