Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that he was ready for the big political price he will have to pay for the steps he has taken for the betterment of the country, in a reference to decisions taken to curb black money.
He also said that his government is committed to developing a development-centric eco system which is free of corruption and is citizen centric.
Addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, he said that post demonetisation, black money, which was part of a parallel economy, has now become part of the formal system.
Inaugurating the summit, Modi said data mining after the note ban is also helping government track down those involved in corruption.
Appreciating the role of Aadhaar in delivering services to the people and also checking pilferages, he said the system would also work as a tool to track down benami properties.
“The day the country will have a technical and digital address for all monetary transactions, organised corruption would be checked to a great extent.
“I am aware of the big political price I will have to pay for the steps I have taken, the path I have chosen and the destination I want to take the country to. But I am ready for it,” the prime minister said.
Modi also used the opportunity to hit out at the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, saying that when the National Democratic Alliance took over in 2014, the “legacy” it got was in the form of a poor fiscal order, banking system, economy and governance.
In an apparent dig at the media, he said the situation then was not described “harshly”.
“The headline was ‘policy paralysis... things were described in discount words. No harsher words were used to describe the situation,” he noted.
He said during the rule of the previous government, “corruption was the norm (bhrashtachar hi shishtachar tha)...I understand that no magic can change the country... but we cannot sit doing nothing...people who do nothing are filled with a sense of dejection... this approach prevents us from taking risks,” he said.
Modi said for the past 70 years, people were fighting the system. “The system was a hurdle in development, success. My effort and commitment is that the people’s struggle with the system should end and ease of living should go up,” he said.
He said the introduction of LED bulbs has helped save Rs 14,000 crore. “You would not believe the figure... had the government introduced a scheme (with an outlay of) Rs 14,000 crore, I would have secured a vote bank of middle income group (people) for the next 50 years,” he said.
The prime minister said no one would have stopped the previous government from implementing such schemes. “But we won’t be stopped,” he asserted..
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo