Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening announced a slew of schemes in what was considered to be his first post-demonetisation speech. He also made several appeals to people to bring their income into the mainstream, and also praised some sections of the society, while condemning some others.
People who earned his praise included bank employees – and especially the women among them – who worked late nights to help people get their own money. Some other bank and government employees, however, earned his ire because of the manner in which they helped people convert their black money on the sly, and subsequently got caught.
Here are 9 important things Modi said during his televised address on Saturday:
1. On demonetisation: This is a rare instance in history when the masses and the government stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight against corruption, black money and counterfeit notes.
2. On people hiding income and tax evasion: Some may laugh while others will express their anger, but according to information available with the government, only 24 lakh people in the country have income of more than Rs 10 lakh.
3. On government policy: This government is a friend of the good individual, and in favour of creating an environment that turns a bad individual into a good individual.
4. On praise and punishment: Bank employees – especially the women – worked late nights in our fight against corruption, black money and counterfeit notes. However, some bank employees and government employees let us down [by helping people convert their black money into white on the sly]. They will not be spared.
5. On housing loans: People from the lower strata of society will get a four percent discount on interest on loans of up to Rs 9 lakh, and a three percent discount on interest on loans of up to Rs 12 lakh. Also, a three percent interest waiver on loans of up to Rs 2 lakh for construction of houses in rural India will be given under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
6. On farm loan interest waiver: The interest of 60 days on loans taken by farmers from District Cooperative Central Banks and primary societies will be borne by the government. This will be directly transferred to their bank accounts.
7. On RuPay cards and MSME sector: All three crore kisan credit cards will be converted to RuPay cards in the next three months. That way, farmers will not have to wait in line any more. Also, the credit guarantee of all MSME enterprises has been increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore.
8. For pregnant women and senior citizens: Pregnant women will get Rs 6,000 for their registration, delivery, nutritious food and their children's vaccination at the local hospital. This will be transferred directly to their accounts. For senior citizens, deposits of up to Rs 7.5 lakh will earn an eight percent interest rate flat for 10 years.
9. On political parties and elections: Political parties should set aside their "holier than thou" attitudes, and take steps to ensure that black money is curbed. Also, there should be more discussion on unifying the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.