Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed cashless transactions on Sunday and thanked the people for enduring the “pain” caused by the decision to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, a move the government says is aimed at fighting corruption and black money.
“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 ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the 27th edition of his monthly radio address.
The Prime Minister said people faced hardships and inconvenience, but “answered back to those who publicly tried to mislead them”.
Modi’s surprise announcement on November 8 to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has sparked chaos and confusion across the country, with millions of consumers queued outside banks and ATMs to change a limited number of old notes for new ones or withdraw cash.
It met with stiff opposition by rival parties that stalled proceedings in just-concluded winter session of Parliament. The Opposition also alleged that more than 100 people died in the wake of the shock move.
But Modi said despite efforts to mislead the citizens, they did not budge. “Many are writing that the fight against corruption has to continue.”
Lucky draw schemes
He also announced lucky draw schemes for people who use digital payment methods, including e-banking, mobile banking and e-wallets.
Modi said 15,000 people who use digital payment modes will be given a reward of Rs 1,000 each by a lucky draw. This amount will be transferred to their accounts.
“This scheme will last for 100 days (from Sunday). As such lakhs of people will get crores of rupees,” Modi said.
The PM said there will be one big draw every week with winning price in lakhs.
“On the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti -- April 14 2017 -- we will be conducting a bumper draw in which the winning price will be in crores.”
Funding for political parties
Modi said he wanted a debate in Parliament on donations being given to political parties but it could not take place.
He added rumours were being spread on funding for political parties. “Law is the same for everyone, whether it is individual, organisation or a party.”
The Prime Minister, however, added that amid the disruptions, something good happened, thanking the members of Parliament for passage of the disability bill. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, was passed in Parliament in the winter session.
Birthday, Christmas greetings
Modi also wished the nation on Christmas, and said it was a day of service and compassion.
“I wish you all a Merry Christmas. It is the day when people should serve with compassion,” Modi said.
Modi also remembered educationist and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on their birthdays.
“Malviya gave new directions to the modern education in India. He was a fine example of resolution and self-confidence,” Modi said.
Greeting Vajpayee on his 92nd birthday, Modi said the former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna recipient took the nation to “new heights” which will be never forgotten.
Vajpayee “strengthened the nation” by modernising and promoting country’s nuclear power, he said.