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Narendra Modi says ready to pay political price for fighting corruption, irreversible changes to benefit poor | HTLS 2017

Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is witnessing a “behaviour change... the corrupt are afraid to deal in black money and there is a healthy and clean corporate culture”.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2017 21:49 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji and Kumar Uttam
Saubhadra Chatterji and Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Narendra Modi,Hindustan Times Leadership Summit,HTLS 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers the inaugural address during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Thursday.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday he was prepared to pay a political price for fighting corruption as part of his government’s wider efforts to change the “broken system” of the past 70 years and improve the lot of the country’s poor.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Modi said three years ago, India voted for a “permanent, irreversible change” in the system, which his government is ushering in.

He also gave a sector-wise comparison between the last three years of the UPA regime and his first three years and pointed out that despite using the same means and resources, the government is working better.

“There is a behaviour change in the country you can see today…the corrupt are afraid to deal in black money and there is a healthy and clean corporate culture,” Modi told a packed audience, describing steps such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST)?as his tools to fight corruption.

“Going forward, organised corruption will come down by these steps. I may have to pay a political price for the path I have taken but I’m ready for it,” Modi said.

Earlier, too, he had mentioned that a small section of the people are angry with him for these measures. Modi had also attacked political rivals for not doing much against corruption.

Modi said that when he addressed HTLS in 2015, the topic was ‘Towards a Brighter India’.

“In just two years, the narrative has changed and we are talking about The Irreversible Rise of India. This is not just a change of subject, it indicates the change in the country’s outlook and confidence,” he added.

He listed a raft of government projects — the Swachh Bharat initiative, Jan Dhan bank accounts, the Ujjwala subsidised cooking gas scheme, the Ujala scheme for affordable LED lighting, affordable life insurance for the poor as well as Digital India — to underline a new ease of living that was helping the “irreversible rise” of India.

Modi hailed the new momentum in government schemes behind the county’s progress. As he compared the performance of his government with the previous UPA regime, the PM mentioned that bureaucracy is now more responsive. “In the last three years of the previous government, only 11km of national highways were built everyday. Now, 22km of roads are built daily. The previous government constructed 80,000km of rural roads in its last three years while our government constructed 120,000km of roads in three years,” he said, recalling the policy paralysis of the second UPA regime.

Modi also mentioned that against the electrification of 2,500km of rail lines in the UPA’s last three years, the NDA government electrified more than 4,300km of rail lines. The capital expenses also rose from ?140,000 crore to ?264,000 crore during the same period, underlining the government’s thrust on creating infrastructure.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 11:54 IST