Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Thursday, where he spoke at length about issues like demonetisation, GST, corruption and the state of the Indian economy.
PM Modi defended the bold steps taken by his government to bring about systemic changes in the country even though he ran the risk of paying a “big political price” for carrying out the changes.
“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,” Modi said, while talking about the “legacy” left behind by the UPA government.
The prime minister said India was counted among the “fragile five” nations globally and the country’s economy, banking system and governance structure were in a poor shape when the NDA came to power in 2014.
Referring to demonetisation, he said it had brought about a “behavioural change” in the country. Corrupt people, for the first time after Independence, were scared of making illicit money, he explained.
At the summit, Modi listed the achievements of his government in a range of sectors and highlighted steps taken to contain black money and corruption, and on improving the banking system, governance and the overall lives of the common people.
“The day the country will have a technical and digital address for all monetary transactions, organised corruption would be checked to a great extent,” the Prime Minister said.
He said that the black money which earlier funded a parallel economy was now a part of the formal economy after his government high value demonetised currency notes on November 8, 2016.
“This government cannot be stopped by anyone from taking steps which will bring permanent changes in the system and ensure the interest of the nation. I think those who feel this country cannot be changed using a magic wand are grappling with frustration and disappointment,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister defended the new tax regime under Goods and Services Tax, calling it a new chapter in bringing transparency within the country.
He attacked the previous UPA government and accused them of leading a government where corruption was the norm.
He also accused the media of not using using harsher words than ‘policy paralysis’ while describing the poor state of the Indian economy during the UPA regime.
The Prime Minister also lauded the biometric system Aadhaar in delivering services to the people and also checking pilferage. He said the system would also work as a tool to track down ‘benami’ properties.
(With inputs from PTI)