oppn parties Prime Minister Modi's Speech: Steely Resolve

News Snippets

  • Government planning a loan mela to cover 400 districts in two phases
  • PM Modi says Kashmiris need a hug from all Indians
  • NPA tag will not be put on any MSME till March 20
  • Government likely to announce another economic stimulus package today ahead of the GST Council meet in Goa
  • Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria, slated to retire just a few days from now, to be the next chief of IAF
  • PM Modi slams politicians from his own party who are making irresponsible statements on the Ayodhya case and tells them to wait for the Supreme Court order
  • Telecom panel says resident welfare associations (RWA) cannot give monopoly access to any one service provider and infrastructure in public spaces and residential complexes will have to be shared by all
  • Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, tells him there is no need for an NRC in Bengal
  • After 14 days, there is no hope left for reviving Vikram, the moon lander
  • CBI teams search for elusive Rajeev Kumar
  • Union minister Babul Supriyo assaulted at Jadavpur University
  • West Bengal governor's convoy not allowed to enter Jadavpur University following a blockade by Left students' union
  • ABVP supporters create ruckus at Jadavpur University in Kolkata
  • The Army conducts an operational alert exercise in eastern Ladakh
  • The IAF reopened the Vijaynagar advance landing ground, an airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
Government announces cuts in corporate income tax, stock markets welcome the decision with a massive jump
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Prime Minister Modi's Speech: Steely Resolve

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
If Prime Minister Modi dropped the demonetization bombshell on national TV on November 8, it was perhaps fitting for him to address the nation after the 50-day window ended. Viewed in that context, Prime Minister Modi's speech on December 31 was an apt round-up and showed his steely resolve to fight corruption and tax evasion.

Without being over dramatic, Modi got across what he wanted to say – that the people have supported demonetization despite hardships; that the government was committed to ease the hardships in coming days and banks have been instructed in this regard; that the corrupt, or beiman to use his word, will not be spared and roads for beimani are being closed and that everyone will have to contribute towards nation building. The sops he announced were just bonuses.

That a prime minister has the courage to accept that implementation of the scheme went awry causing many hardships to the common people is in itself a big plus. A so-called expert on NDTV had said in the pre-speech round-up that in his 35 or more years’ career, Modi had never admitted even a small mistake. Here was the prime minister openly saying that people were inconvenienced and the government would do all to ease it. Where will the expert hide now?

Another point the prime minister made was that despite the misinformation campaign by opposition parties, there was not a single case of revolt or uprising by the people from anywhere in the country. He rightly said that the people were fed up with corruption and amassing of wealth by the crooked and were with the government in its quest to uncover such corruption.

He also rightly pointed out that no one in India believes that only 24 lakh or so people have incomes above Rs 10 lakh (as evidenced by their income tax returns). He said the government wanted to catch people who earn more and hide, thereby depriving the country of much needed revenue for development. There can be no quarrel with that.

The prime minister has laid down the government’s intentions on the table. The corrupt and the tax evaders will have no place to hide. Demonetization and the subsequent deposit of banned currency notes in bank accounts will lift the cover off their nefarious activities. The government is going to go after them and the parallel economy.

Prime Minister Modi’s speech just reiterated his and the government’s resolve to further escalate the fight against all financial irregularities going on in the parallel economy. The common refrain that India is a cash dependent economy is not going to work this time. If it is cash dependent, then the time has come to make it less so. Cash does not leave any trail. Transactions are hidden and incomes are not reported. Apologists for this form of business should change their views.

The only disappointment one had was that despite touching on political funding and spending reforms, the prime minister did not go whole hog and ban all cash donations over Rs 500 to political parties. Modi has to realize that all his efforts will come to naught if he is unable to usher in reforms of funding of political parties. Most people have to earn in black as they need to pay-off politicians in black. Hence, these reforms will form the basis of a corruption free India.