Updated: December 31, 2016 9:07:51 pm
In his New Year’s Eve address to the nation on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens to move forward with determination in the coming year. The prime minister said that citizens of the nation had to endure hardships after Diwali to get rid of black money from the country, and showed the world why India is a nation never forgotten. “Kuch baat hai ki hasti mit ti nahi hamaari, is baat ko deshvasiyon ne ji kar ke dikhaya hai (There is a reason why our identities are not forgotten, the nation has shown that with their efforts.),” he said. Describing the hardships endured by the people as an example of “great sacrifice”, Modi said the future of the nation has been laid through sweat and toil.
PM Modi said that the government had to take a tough decision while deciding to implement demonetisation and without the support of people it would not have been possible. “What India has done with demonetisation, there’s no other example in the world… government and public have fought together to curb black money,” he said.
Talking about how corruption, black money and counterfeit currency had crippled common man, Modi said cash circulation is disproportionately higher than similar sized economies which had led to price rise. He went on to talk about the government research that revealed only 24 lakh people in the country have accepted that their salary is above 10 lakh under Income Tax. Saying that the corrupt will be punished, he said that law will continue to do its work and with utmost severity but the focus will remain on protecting the honest and reducing their difficulties.
Lauding bank employees and authorities for working all nights after demonetisation, the prime minister said that they have done exemplary work, but also accepted that there were reports of few indulging in corruption. “All concerned directed to restore normalcy in banking system, particularly in rural and far flung areas, to end difficulties of people,” he further said. He also urged banks to use the opportunity to break from traditional lending to prioritise their lending to poor and vulnerable sections.
PM Modi announced a slew of sops for senior citizens, farmers, rural housing, women and small entrepreneurs to soften the blow of demonetisation. He said that the government will exempt 4 per cent on interest for poor and middle class people applying for home loan up to Rs 9 lakh. “Home loans to poor and middle class people upto Rs 9 lakh will get 4 per cent exemption on interest and upto Rs 12 lakh will get 3 per cent exemption,” he said. Under Awas Yojana, the PM announced a 3 per cent interest waiver on loan upto Rs 2 lakh for construction of houses in rural India.
Launching schemes for the farmers, Modi said that the banks will not charge interest for 60 days on loans taken from district cooperative central bank and primary societies for rabi crop. “In next three months, three Kisaan credit cards will be converted into RUPAY card,” he further said. In a bid to refute criticisms against the Central government for not paying attention to farmers, Modi said that Rabi crop sowing has increased by 6 per cent, while fertilizer sales went up by 9 per cent despite doomsday predictions by critics.
Launching schemes for business enterprises, Modi said that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) credit guarantee of 1 crore will be increased to Rs 2 crore. “Banks have been asked to raise cash credit limit to small business to 25 per cent from 20 per cent,” he said. He also promised to provide an of assistance Rs 6000 to pregnant women which will be transferred to their accounts in 650 districts for vaccinations and other medical aids. In a bid to aid senior citizens in the country, the PM announced that 8 per cent interest rate will be guaranteed on deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years for Senior Citizen. On an amount of Rs 7.5 lakh loans, an interest rate of 10 per cent will be secured up to years, he said.
Ending his address, the Prime Minister appealed for a parliamentary debate on holding assembly elections and central elections simultaneously to reduce elections expenditure. The Prime Minister asked the political parties to take steps in the coming year to end black money funding and corruption. “As we welcome the New Year, lets come together to build a bright future of the country,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.