New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Indian banking sector is “much stronger" than before as a result of the government’s moves to merge and recapitalize banks.
“Three-four decades earlier when banks were nationalized, there was a lot of celebration. We found that (having) so many banks has its disadvantages. We needed strong banks, not so many in number," Modi said in his inaugural address to the 17th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
“Today, I am happy to say that we had the courage to merge banks and gave an amount of ₹2.5 lakh crore for the recapitalization of banks. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has ensured that approximately ₹3 lakh crore comes back.
“After these decisions, the banking sector is much stronger than before. Questions will not be raised on the genuine business decisions taken by bankers. To reduce the pressure from the banking sector is also the government’s job. If bankers are under pressure, then they will not be able to take decisions. I am not one to run away from responsibilities."
The PM also reiterated his promise of a better tomorrow ushered in by strong decision making, better governance and interconnected services.
The legacy that the government had inherited could not have made the country ready for the challenges posed by the 21st century, Modi said.
He said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by him was working to make India a $5-trillion economy.
“The challenges have not come today but been around for years. The decision to abrogate Article 370 has given hope to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Families who come from neighbouring countries, when they get citizenship, they will have a better future. The decision on Delhi’s illegal colonies has secured the future of 40 lakh people. These decisions were legacies from the past but could not be left hanging," he said.
Parliament is likely to take up the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 for discussion on Monday.
Modi said infrastructure is expected to play a key role in India’s development with the government launching infra schemes of up to ₹1 trillion.
Speaking about the 112 aspirational districts which account for approximately 150 million people, Modi said: “These regions were the most backward on most metrics. But we are working on their development and governance. When their future improves, India’s future will improve."
“This is a guarantee for a better tomorrow. For the overall development parameters to improve, the biggest push will come from these aspirational districts. We are not the kind to leave a page blank but write a new chapter. We are people who have faith in the dreams of the country. We are taking the country towards the politics of performance," he said.
The Prime Minister said the NDA was working on the principle of politics of performance and not politics of promises.
“I know we have raised the expectations and aspirations of the people. We are being criticized for issues and agenda set by us," he added.
He said the government had made changes in the recruitment and retirement process of the civil services to ensure that the best talent is made available.
“The country will move forward when there is no pressure from the government on the public. The government needs to be out of people’s lives. The important tools are the governance mechanism. The legacy with which we were moving we could not have met the aspirations of the 21st century. We have made an effort to transform the employment process," he said.
Modi said steps taken in banking and labour will ensure ease of operations. He said the country’s ranking in ease of doing business had improved by 79 positions in five years.
Gyan Varma contributed to this story