Vowing to root out corruption in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he has “faced problems” by depriving the “sweets of many” and saved over Rs 36,000 crore annually by stopping leakage and theft in government schemes.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at the end of his two-day visit to Qatar, Modi said, “We have only cleaned up the surface (on corruption) and a detailed clean-up remains.”
“We have stopped the sweets of many and in doing so, I have also faced problems. But I get the strength to face these problems from the love received from 125 crore Indians,” he said, likening criticism of the government’s action to a child getting angry on being deprived of a sweet by his mother.
Modi, who was repeatedly cheered by the Indian community members, said efforts to ensure financial transparency, discipline and efficiency have started yielding good results.
“Can you imagine? We have saved Rs 36,000 crore per year by stopping leakage and theft in various government schemes,” he said.
Modi said 1.62 crore fake ration cards have been detected and saved crores through subsidised wheat, rice, kerosene and LPG.
“Corruption has made our country hollow, eating into its vitals like termite,” he said.
In a veiled attack on the earlier Congress regimes, Modi said: “Today across the world, India’s image has been enhanced and the country is being viewed respectably. Everyone is being attracted to India. You would have noticed the change when people from other countries meet Indians.”
The Prime Minister said that despite India facing drought for two consecutive years, it has achieved 7.9 per cent GDP in the last quarter of the fiscal gone by.
“World’s economy is in doldrums and the best of the countries are also facing an economic downturn.
“(But) India is moving ahead at a fast pace despite a lot of difficulties,” he said, adding that all the credit rating agencies, World Bank and the IMF were unanimous in recognising India as the world’s fastest growing economy.
“Despite the problems, the 7.9% growth is testimony to the fact that the country is moving fast,” he said.
Modi added: “Even when you go to faraway Mongolia, an Indian there also feels that times have changed (in India).”
Noting that India-Qatar relations were growing, with the Indians settled here contributing significantly, he said: “When rulers of any country praise Indians, you can imagine how my chest swells with pride.”
After the 14th Finance Commission, the situation was reversed with 65 per cent of the country’s revenue going to states and the Centre having to do with only 35 per cent, he said.
In his 25-minute speech, the Prime Minister also made a reference to the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for the retired defence personnel which had been pending for over four decades.
“The economic burden may have been big but this cannot be less than the prestige of soldiers dying for the country,” he said.