Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked people for enduring the “pain” caused by the government’s November 8 decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes that has caused an unprecedented cash crunch across the country since.
“I congratulate people for not only enduring pain but also for giving appropriate answers to those who were trying to mislead them,” Modi said in his monthly radio address to the nation ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
The 27th edition of Modi’s monthly address is the last this year. It comes against the backdrop of the Opposition’s criticism of the government’s decision to recall high-value bankotes and an unproductive winter session that saw protests over the subsequent cash crunch.
In his previous ‘Mann ki Baat’ on November 27, Modi had thanked citizens and banks across the nation for accepting demonetisation and urged people to embrace digital banking to tide over the currency crunch. Modi had also spoken on the Kashmir unrest and hailed the valour of the Indian Army.
Here are the highlights of his address:
11.40 am: “India is a moving at a fast pace,” says Modi, pointing out that India’s ranking has gone up in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report. “It is the outcome of the hard work of our people that India’s global ranking is improving,” says Modi.
11.35 am: From demonetisation, the Prime Minister moves on the sporting achievements. “Performance of Indian cricket team has been phenomenal this year, congratulate the team for beating England 4-0.” He also congratulates the young players of the junior hockey team for winning the world cup.
11.30 am: “Lot of questions have been raised on the frequent change of rules but I want to say that I have decided to take those indulging in corruption,” says Modi. “Black money hoarders are being nabbed across the country. The secret is that information given by common people enables us to do it.”
Many are writing to me- मोदी जी थक मत जाना, रुक मत जाना और जितना कठोर कदम उठा सकते हो, उठाओ: PM #MannKiBaat— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 25, 2016
He continues to criticise the unproductive winter session that concluded recently, saying even President Pranab Mukherjee and Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari had to raise their concerns. He said the one good thing that happened during the session was the passing of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill.
Modi also says the laws in ‘Benami Property Act’ will be strengthened.
11.26 am: Modi says he has received thousands of comments on MyGov and NM app on the issue of demonetisation.
Inputs from people have been in 3 broad categories: Messages of inconveniences; information on evaders; overwhelming support. #MannKiBaat— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) December 25, 2016
11.25 am: “If Parliament would have functioned there would have been fruitful discussions,” says Modi on the winter session which was dominated by protests on the implementation of demonetisation.
11.23 am: “Lies are being spread that political parties are exempted. Law is equal for all,” says Modi. He also congratulates people for, “not only enduring pain but also for giving appropriate answers to those who were trying to misled them.”
11.20 am: Several organisations like GNFC (Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers) have taken novel initiatives to popularize digital transactions among villagers, says Modi.
11.18 am: “ We should be at the forefront of using digital means to make payments and transactions,” says Modi. He says he has received, “many suggestions, inputs and comments based on the decision on our fight against corruption and black money.”
Modi says businessmen who make use of digital payments will receive income tax benefits.
11.16 am: On the thriving informal sector in the country and how it has been affected by demonetisation, PM Modi says that workers mostly receive their wages in cash and are often exploited.
11.15 am: PM Modi lauds the state government in Assam for their efforts to turn towards digital payments and transactions.
11.10 am: “In the last few days, cashless transactions across the country have increased by 200-300%,” says Modi. he stresses that there’s increased awareness regarding online payments and using technology for digital transactions.
11.05 am: PM Modi talks about cashless transactions and the eagerness among the public to learn. As part of the government’s strategy to promote digital banking, the Centre is launching two schemes, Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana for consumers and traders, from Sunday.
“The scheme is to benefit the poor & lower income groups, only transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 will be rewarded,” says Modi.
11.04 am: “Today is also the birth anniversary of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The country will never forget his contribution to the nation,” says Modi, adding that Vajpayee set new standards on all fronts.
11.00 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his address by wishing his listeners ‘Merry Christmas’.
“This is a day of service and compassion. Jesus not only served the poor but has also appreciated the service done by the poor, this is real empowerment.”
(With agency inputs)