Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said “black money” stashed in illicit offshore accounts belonged to the nation’s poor and assured the nation he would bring it back.
“As far as black money is concerned…I speak from my heart…my country people, trust your pradhan sewak…for me its an article of faith…whatever money of india’s poor has gone out….every paisa should come back…that’s my commitment,” the PM said during Mann Ki Baat, his now popular radio address to the nation.
Addressing citizens for the second time in as many months—the last address aired on October 3rd—Mr. Modi also said he was heartened to see people heralding change.
“Last time, I had asked people to buy one Khadi cloth…the gramodyog department told me Khadi sales grew by 125 percent in that one week starting October 2nd,” he said.
He similarly commended people on participating enthusiastically in the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan saying it was heartening to see children taking care not to litter and people not littering in trains.
“Where does sickness go? It goes first to the poor, not the rich. So cleanliness is the greatest service to the poor…my cleanliness drive is directly linked to the welfare and health of my poor brothers and sisters,” Mr. Modi said.
The PM said he was noticing more and more people—especially the young—had begun talking about social issues.
“Whoever meets me these days, be it celebrities, businesspeople, officials, they talk less about their self-interests and more about social issues and what they could do about them,” Mr. Modi said.
Opinions on how to bring black money back, he said, could differ, but “whatever I understand and based on the information I have…I assure you we are on the right path”.
“Today nobody knows—not me, not you, not the government, not even the previous government—how much money is stashed abroad. I don’t want to get into complex numbers…but I assure you that my efforts will not fall short,” he said.
The PM also recounted his trip to Siachen where he spent time with jawans.
“When the nation was celebrating Diwali, I had gone to Siachen to spend time with our jawans…its because of them we are able to celebrate Diwali…I got to know how difficult it is for them to live there. I salute them for their commitment,” he said, while also congratulating the Indian army for winning the gold medal at the prestigious Exercise Cambrian Patrol, an annual international military patrolling event held in the UK.
He also praised Indian sportspersons who had participated in the Incheon Asian games. The other day I met the sportspersons over tea…India has less facilities for sportspersons compared to other nations, but instead of complaining, they said they wanted to do better,” he said.
The PM congratulated officials of the HRD ministry for formulating schemes for specially-abled children.
“After I expressed my views on the subject, officials of HRD ministry have come together to formulate some schemes including one where 1000 selected children will be provided scholarships for technical education …see this is how change within government occurs,” he said.
“Another scheme, these children need special infrastructure…so officials have decided all KVs and CUs will get Rs. 1 lakh for building this infrastructure…this is shubh shuruaat,” he said.
In his next radio address, Mr. Modi said he would discuss the increasing number of young people falling prey to drug abuse.
“A letter from Abhishek Parekh asked me to discuss drug abuse on Mann Ki Baat… some mothers, sisters and doctors also told me this. I understand his pain…next time, I will definitely discuss that in detail,” he said, while inviting suggestions and success stories from people on the issue.
For those who didn’t have access to internet, the PM asked them to write letters to “Mann Ki Baat, Akashwani Bhawan, Parliament Street”.
“When you write, it shows you are a proactive citizen, that you are concerned such citizens are the nation’s greatest asset,” he said.
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