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Modi govt @3: Focus on farmers, sanitation, black money, making India digital

Modi gave a detailed account of the government’s efforts for transforming agriculture and doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

india Updated: May 26, 2017 20:49 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a memento from Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal as BJP workers hold an Assamese Japi, a traditional headgear, in Guwahati on Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives a memento from Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal as BJP workers hold an Assamese Japi, a traditional headgear, in Guwahati on Friday.(AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated on Friday that his government has prioritised the farm sector and sanitation besides battling black money and making India take the digital route to development.

The focus on farmers follows criticism from the opposition as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that questioned the Modi government’s pro-poor economic policy after a string of suicides by farmers.

Addressing the nation from Guwahati to mark three years of the BJP-led NDA government, Modi gave a detailed account of the government’s efforts for transforming agriculture and doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (3rd L), DONER minister Jitendra Singh (2nd R), Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu (4th L) and other leaders during a public meeting in Guwahati on Friday. (Rajib Jyoti Sarma/ HT Photo)

“We need the cooperation of farmers for ensuring maximum yield through optimum utilisation of water and technological assistance,” he said, adding that urea has been provided to farmers across the country.

Farmers, the Prime Minister said, were crucial to his vision of a new India where no area will remain undeveloped. “We need a new, modern India in 2022, when we will be observing 75 years of the country’s freedom.”

Modi took a swipe at his detractors for deriding him for speaking about toilets from the Red Fort.

“I know what small things mean for millions of people in rural India. And by building more than four lakh toilets, we have shown we mean business,” he said, expressing gratitude to the people for taking the Swachh Bharat campaign forward.

The Prime Minister also vowed to intensify the battle against black money “even if I have to pay a heavy price for it”.

Criticising former regimes for encouraging corruption and benami property, Modi said: “There was a time when people used to talk only about kala dhan (black money). But today, they discuss Jan Dhan and Digi Dhan (two pet projects for transfer of money to bank account of beneficiaries).”

On demonetisation, the Prime Minister said it was a tough decision but the trust of the voters in him made it possible.

“This could have caused trouble for us, but the people stood by us because they believed in our honesty. Demonetisation saw 90 lakh Indians coming forward to disclose their income and pay tax,” he said.

Several measures taken by the government, Modi said, have helped the right people get the benefits of pro-poor schemes.

“Direct benefit transfer has prevented Rs 60,000 crore from going to the wrong hands annually,” he said, criticising the governments after independence for carrying on the British policy of looking down upon the people.

“We have shown we can work on a big scale, as was evident by the launching of 104 satellites on a single day. I assure you, from the land of Kamakhya, that we will do justice to the faith you have kept on us,” he said.