Nation can be secured only when banks and depositors are secured: Modi

A file picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A file picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Modi's address to AGM of FICCI is his first speech to an AGM of a national business association since becoming Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing the doyens of industry at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi.

This is Mr. Modi's first address to an AGM of a national business association since becoming Prime Minister, and it assumes greater significance in the background of the GST rollout.

 “After the inaugural session, Mr. Modi will interact with all our past presidents,”  FICCI said.

At the AGM, FICCI president Pankaj Patel (Chairman & MD, Zydus Cadila) will step down and Rashesh Shah (Chairman & CEO, Edelweiss Group) will take charge.

The AGM, with the theme ‘Indian Business in a New India’, will also to be addressed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia will also address a special session.

Following are the highlights of the Prime Minister's speech that he began at 4.20 p.m. and ended at 5.08 p.m.:

"All of you are caught up in settling your accounts for the year.

"I would like to congratulate the FICCI for its 90 years of operation. Ninety years ago, along with normal duties and responsibilities, national duties and responsibilities were carried out and we are doing so now.

"People are tired of corruption, black money, and want to be free of it. So, it is time for a churn to understand the needs and wishes of the people and country and come up with a policy.

"In the 70 years after independence, such a system was created where a poor man or downtrodden person had to fight against the government. If he wanted a bank account, gas connection, pension, he had to fight the system and go from pillar to post.

"My government is ending this fight with the system. It is not only transparent, but also sensitive. So, when we started the “Jan Dhan Yojana,” we got such a great response. But when we started it, we didn't know how many accounts we would have to open. There was no such data. We just knew that the poor were turned away. Now, with 30 crore accounts being opened, we have an idea of what a change this has created.

Schemes to increase ease of living

"The government has tried to create schemes to increase ease of living… so that poor women could be freed from smoke… and we created 'Ujjwala Yojana.' There is a study that shows that fuel inflation has gone down in those areas where the scheme was rolled out.

"Swacch Bharat has created five crore bathrooms. We created the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana so that the poor can get houses.

"The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Loan Yojana (PMMY) is doing a great job of addressing the needs of the youth — bank guarantee. Every youth, when they set out to do something, their first question is "where will the money come from?". Mudra Loan Yojana has given loans worth ₹4 lakh crore to 9.75 crore people.

Boost to start-ups

"The government is giving a boost to start-ups. In the last three years, because of government decisions, there has been a lot of advancement in these areas. In the last government, large businesses were given huge loans by putting pressure on the banks.

"The noise around NPAs [non-performing assetss] all because of the last government. What was the FICCI doing when banks were being pressured to give loans to certain big businessmen? Everybody knew that something was wrong. This was the biggest scam by the UPA, bigger than commonwealth, 2G, coal... Was this pointed out at least once in any report or survey? This govt is taking many steps to fix the poor state of the banking system. The nation can be secured only when the banks and depositors are secured.

"There has been lot of rumours about the FRDI. The government is doing all it can to secure the deposits of customers. But the rumours exactly opposite to what the govt is doing. Organisations like the FICCI have to figure out the ways to balance the voices of the govt., industry and the common man.

Poser to FICCI

"People on social media would have seen that some restaurants were raising their prices due to higher rates. The benefits were not going to customers. To combat this, the govt. is doing what it can, but can FICCI do something about it as well?

"We want as many people to join the GST framework… in to the formal system. Not because the govt needs the tax money, but because increased formal systems will allow us to help the poor.

"Small business will be more competitive in a global scenario. I have been told that FICCI’s MSME vertical was started in 2013. In a 90 year old organisation, the MSME vertical is only four years old. The money owed to MSMEs by big companies, can that be given quickly? Large amounts are stuck with these big companies.

“There were many such reasons why we couldn't reach our potential in the last century. And now, there are many reasons why India can now begin a new age.

'Took decision on bamboo too'

“We have taken a decision on something as humble as bamboo. We had different laws saying it was both a tree and a grass. The government has decided that, outside jungle, it would not be called a tree. We import bamboo for agarbattis and kites. Even though we have it here, but it's classified as a tree. With this decision, those companies dependent on bamboo will greatly benefit.

“The Real Estate Regulatory Agency [RERA] has put a stop to the wanton behaviour of builders.

“We realised that between the passage of the Budget and the start of the monsoon, work could not start till about Diwali time. We advanced the Budget date. Now the work can be done throughout the year.

“In the aviation sector, we created a policy that would allow somebody with a hawai chappal  to fly. You can see the effect of all these on the various indicators linked to the economy.

“In the Global Innovation Index, India has jumped 21 ranks. There has been a 70% increase in FDI. 75% per cent of the total foreign funds in the construction sector in the last three years.

“Passenger vehicle growth in November was more than 14%. Commercial vehicle growth saw 50%. Three-wheeler growth was 80% and two-wheeler growth more than 23%.

House for all

“The government is also working towards giving each poor person a house of their own by 2022.

“There is a lot of work being done in laying gas pipelines. This is helping the city gas distribution systems.''

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:41:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/narendra-modi-inaugurates-ficci-agm/article21572042.ece

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