I accept that small traders were hit due to the introduction of GST: Prime Minister Modi

From demonetisation to the surgical strikes, in an interview with ANI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clears the air on many important issues facing the nation

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 9:03 AM

From demonetization to surgical strikes, in his first interview of 2019 with Asian News International (ANI), Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the air on many important issues facing the nation and decisions by his administration.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

On demonetization:

Prime Minister Modi said the decision behind demonetisation was not a sudden one, and pointed out that the note ban was necessary to clean up the system, saying, “We had warned people a year before, that if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. However, they thought Modi too would behave like others so very few came forward voluntarily.”

The Rafale deal:

Speaking about the Rafale deal controversy, the Prime Minister reiterated, “I have spoken on the issue in Parliament and in various public meetings. Supreme Court has given their views and the French President has also spoken. Congress has weakened the armed forces.”

He continued, “For them, my crime is I am working on Make in India for being self-sufficient in defence. My crime is that I am focusing on whatever the defence forces need. I do not care about their abuses, I will do my work and strengthen the armed forces. I am working with honesty. Allegations are not personal against me.”

Surgical strikes:

Prime Minister Modi said that it was unfortunate that some parties doubted the surgical strikes and then politicised the issue, but said that, “The Uri attack rattled me. I gave clear orders that whether you (soldiers) get success or failure, don't think about that, but come back before sunrise. I knew it was a big risk. I never care about any political risk to me. The biggest consideration for me was the safety of our soldiers.”

Mob lynchings:

The Prime Minister also spoke about the issue of mob lynchings, emphasizing “I condemn mob lynching. No instance of violence is acceptable to us. Even one incident is condemnable. What has happened in West Bengal? A political party (the BJP) is being denied a basic democratic right. Our workers are brutally killed in West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka. Politics of violence has to end. All parties have to reaffirm their commitment to peaceful politics”.

Implementation of GST:

Prime Minister Modi touched on the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax), and pointed out, “Have GST processes not been done taking a consensus with all political parties in the country? Since Pranab Mukherjee was FM, the GST process has been going on”. However, the Prime Minister said, “I accept, that small traders were hit due to the introduction of GST.”

Sabarimala issue:

On the Sabarimala temple controversy, Prime Minister Modi said, “Every temple has their own beliefs. There are temples where men are not allowed. We should read minutely what the Respected Lady Judge said on the Sabarimala case”.

BJP's poor performance in state polls:

Prime Minister Modi emphasized that the party's performance in state polls is not a reflection of the government, saying, “Nobody gave BJP any chance in Telangana and Mizoram. But in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, there was a hung assembly. Secondly, 15 years of anti-incumbency was being fought by our people. Win or loss is not the standard to judge the government"

India's Relationship with Pakistan:

The Prime Minister stated, “Pakistan will never improve on the basis of one war. That nation will still take some time to improve. All PMs of India, across all parties, never opposed dialogue with Pakistan. But, can we hear anything in the midst of bombs? Today, terror-supporting Pakistan is isolated”

Urjit Patel's resignation as RBI Governor:

Prime Minister Modi revealed that former RBI Governor, Urjit Patel wanted to resign 6 months ago, saying ”He himself requested (to resign) on personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time, he was telling me about it for past 6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it even in writing. No question of political pressure. He did a good job as RBI Governor.”

Ram temple issue:

Speaking on this issue PM Modi said, "Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever will be our responsibility as the government, we are ready to make all efforts," Modi said. The Ram Temple Issue issue is in the BJP manifesto and the party will try to find the solution under the ambit of the Constitution.”

He also said, “I want to appeal to the Congress not to use their lawyers to delay the judicial process on the Ram temple.”

Congress' promise of farm loan waivers:

The Prime Minister also touched on the farm loan waiver Congress has promised, calling it a “lollipop” and part of a political stunt, saying ”It doesn't help. If waiving loans can solve the farmer's problem, then it should be done, but history has shown that waivers don't help farmers. When governments make such announcements (of loan waivers), those farmers (who take loans from money lenders) do not become beneficiaries of the waivers. The farmers who are dying are out of the purview of such schemes."

He continued, "There is a small segment of farmers who take loans from banks. A majority of them take loans from money lenders. When governments make such announcements, those farmers do not become beneficiaries of waivers. I want a situation where a farmer never has to be debt-ridden in the first place. For me, farmer welfare is not about politics. Congress' false promise like farm loan waiver is a lollipop. To say a lie and mislead, that is what I called lollipop. Like saying 'we have waived all farm loans'. The truth is that nothing like that has happened. Please see their own circulars, they should not mislead.”

The Opposition's Mahagathbandhan:

On this, PM Modi opined, "All who looted India are coming together. It is going to be 'Janta' versus 'gathbandhan' in 2019 elections. Modi is just a manifestation of public love and blessings. The people of India are seeing how leaders who want to loot are closing ranks and forming alliances. In 2019, the people of India will set the agenda. They know who is with their aspirations and who is not."

Ayushmaan Bharat:

Commenting on the Ayushmaan Bharat health insurance scheme launched by the government in September 2018, Prime Minister Modi highlighted, “In just 100 days, nearly 6 lakh people have benefited from the scheme.”

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