Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Wednesday that his government's action against corruption has made some people angry but he will not turn back in this fight against graft and nepotism, however big an alliance his rivals form against him.
Those angry and making noise want to "destroy" the honest system his government has created in the last nine years, Modi said in his address at a Republic TV programme, but they will not succeed in their "conspiracies" because their fight is not with him but against the common people.
His remarks came amid a renewed push in the opposition ranks to join hands against the ruling BJP in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress and a host of regional parties have accused his government of using probe agencies to target their leaders and also of "weakening" democratic institutions.
Modi said his government's use of technology has weeded out leakage in government schemes and other expenditures to the tunes of tens of thousands of crores of rupees, stopping the source of corruption for some people. What else will they do if not abuse him, he said.
Noting that his government's use of JAM (Jan Dhan bank accounts, Aadhaar and mobile phones) axed 10 crore fake beneficiaries of various welfare schemes, the prime minister accused the previous Congress government of sending money to people who did not exist and whose number was bigger than the combined population of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. This was a source of corruption and has been stopped now, he added.
There are no half measures and isolated approach in the fight against corruption now, he said, asserting that an integrated and institutionalised mechanism is in place.
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"However big an alliance they make, let all corrupt people, all 'parivarvadi' come on a dais, Modi is not going to turn back from his path. I have pledged to rid the country of corruption and nepotism and this will continue. I seek your blessings," he told the audience.
His government has stopped the means for some people to make money through corruption, making them angry, Modi said. His rivals would have succeeded in destroying him if their fight was only with him but they are against the common people of this country, he added.
Modi also said he risked his "political capital" during the COVID-19 outbreak when he chose the path of self-reliance for manufacturing vaccines against the virus when many supported import of jabs. He took a jibe at those who lobbied for imports and wondered under whose pressure they did so.
"I risked my political capital in a big way. I did it only for the country," he said, adding that he could have emptied the treasury by opting for imports but did not choose such a path.
Citing the second and third order impacts of his government's welfare schemes such as direct benefit transfer (DBT), housing, Mudra, and power and water connections, he said they gave a sense of security and dignity to the poor for the first time.
They were earlier seen as a burden on the country's growth but are now accelerating its progress, he said.
"Poor people now believe they will get their rightful share, it is social justice in true sense," the prime minister said.
Modi said the New India's story of transformation was both timeless and futuristic.
It took India 60 years to become a USD 1 trillion economy and it reached 2 trillion by 2014 but it has reached USD 3.5 trillion in the nine years of his government, he said.
"Mudra scheme was started to give financial support to micro and small entrepreneurs. Under this scheme, more than 40 crore loans were disbursed and of the recipients, 70 per cent were women," he said.
More than 3.75 crore houses have been built for the poor while the health insurance scheme of 'Ayushman' has saved over Rs 80,000 crore of the poor, he said.
His government also made bigger allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme MNREGA, boosted transparency and used it to create permanent assets in villages, he added.
"In the last nine years, the poor, deprived, middle class, every section of society can see the obvious change in their lives. Today, we are working with a systemic approach and on a mission mode," Modi said.
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