By Rashi Aditi Ghosh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 touched upon several issues pertaining to the banking industry on the occasion of nation’s 71st Independence Day and gave a call for “New India” pledge, development, while hitting upon dishonesty and black money in the country.
Be it the recently rolled out Goods and Service Tax (GST), Financial Inclusion or demonetisation, the Prime Minister’s fourth speech delivered from the ramparts of historic Red Fort in the national capital, appeared a narrative of India’s development story.
Striking on the issues of corruption, dishonesty and black money, which hinder the growth of the common man in the country, the Prime Minister spoke about the initiation of law against Benami Properties.
He further pointed out the leniency in the implementation of the law for years.
In a bid to reestablish the common man’s faith in the governance, the Prime Minister declared his government had confiscated Benami properties worth over Rs 800 crores so far.
Acknowledging the demand of the defence forces, Modi added that the ‘One Rank – One Pension’ policy was stuck up for 30-40 years but the present government took the initiative of implementing it and fulfilled the aspirations of the soldiers and boosted their moral.
Explaining about the biggest tax reform in the history of independent India, he spoke about the GST, which pledges to give competitive cooperative federalism a new strength.
Modi spoke about the role being played by technology in better implementation of GST in such a short span. Illustrating the nation’s capability and mentioning about the support of the citizens, he termed the rolling out of GST as no less than a miracle that surprised the world.
Speaking about the current status of Financial Inclusion in the country, the Prime Minister pointed out that over 14,000 villages that were hitherto shrouded in darkness even after Independence, have been provided with electricity.
Bank accounts of 29 crore people have been opened, more than 9 crore farmers have got Soil Health Card, the Prime Minister said.
Stating that loans worth over Rs 8 crore have been sanctioned without guarantee to the youth for self-employment, Modi said the interest on bank loans has been also lowered and inflation is totally under control.
Speaking about the rising interface of technology in the banking industry, he said that the Central Government is trying to promote honesty and transparency in the country in sync with technology.
“With the intervention of technology, slowly we are trying to link Aadhaar with the system. We have been successful in infusing transparency in the system. People from around the world have appreciated this model and have been studying it,” he added.
Mentioning dedication and hard work as the biggest virtue of the present government, he said, “I review Government Projects every month. A specific project came to my notice. It was a 42-year old project.”
The Prime Minister said as the announcement of demonetisation left the world surprised, few even termed it as the end of his regime.
Thanking the countrymen for supporting him in realising the demonetisation drive, he said, “But the way our 125 crore countrymen had shown patience and faith, we were able to take one after another step in our drive against corruption.”
Post-demonetisation, the Prime Minister said, over Rs 1.75 lakh crores were deposited in the banks and it was under the scanner.
The drive has put a curb on the menace of black money. He quoted that, earlier the number of new taxpayers filing income tax returns from 1 April to 5 August was 22 lakhs which has now inflated to 56 lakhs.
“We have achieved several milestones through demonetisation,” he added.
Modi said “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna” that was running under a different name earlier, could barely suffice to the demands of 3.25 crore farmers. But now, merely within three years, the scheme is going to touch the 5.75 crore mark.
Pointing out the rising popularity of digitalisation, he said there has been an increase in digital transactions which risen by 34 per cent as compared to last year, while the prepaid transactions have gone up by 44 percent.
He urged the nation to adopt BHIM App for transactions and make it a part of their economic activities.
“My dear countrymen, I shall urge you to take up the New India Pledge and move ahead.”
Citing a Sanskrit shloka from Hindu scriptures, he stated, “If we don’t accomplish a work within the stipulated time then we shall not be able to get the desired results”.
“So for the ‘Team India’, for the 125 crore countrymen, we have to take the pledge to achieve the goal by 2022,” he added.