oppn parties Prime Minister Modi's Speech: Steely Resolve

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  • 84 NDRF teams have been despatched to 23 states to tackle the flood situation
  • Three persons lynched in Bihar after being accused of cattle theft
  • Delhi police seize a consignment of 1500 kgs of heroin and busts a cartel of Afghanistan-Pakistan narcotics dealers with links to the Taliban
  • Supreme Court gives 9 more months to complete the Babri Masjid demolition case trial
  • Priyanka Gandhi not allowed to meet the families of the dead in the Sonabhadra firing, arrested
  • ICC inducts Sachin Tendulkar in [email protected]@@s Hall of Fame
  • Stock markets bleed for the second day. Sensex crashes 560 points
  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says Pakistan should release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asks the Speaker to hold the trust vote latest by 1.30 pm today
  • The Government sends a list of 24 questions to mobile app company that runs video app TikTok seeking answers for anti-national and obscene content carried on the platform
  • Sarvana Bhawan founder P Rajagopal, serving a life term for murder, dies in a Chennai hospital
  • SC allows time till July 31 to the Ayodhya mediation panel
  • IT department attaches "benami" plot worth Rs 400cr in Noida. The plot allegedly belongs to BSP leader [email protected]@@s brother and his wife
  • Dawood [email protected]@@s nephew, Md. Rizwan Iqbal, was arrested from Mumbai airport as he was waiting to board a flight to Dubai
  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
Even after indicating that the trust vote will be held today (he said he cannot delay as he had to face the world), the Karnataka Speaker adjourns the assembly until Monday. Voting is likely to take place on Monday
oppn parties
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.