New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invited the 31 million strong Indian diaspora to exploit the opportunities presented to them by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government in areas as diverse as innovation, startups, research and development to defence manufacturing to become part of “New India’s" growth story.
In his address to the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Modi gave a snapshot of the changes brought about by the BJP-led government in the past four and a half years, including plugging leakages in subsidies through direct bank transfer of benefits.
“A former prime minister once said that of the money government allocated for the welfare of the people, only 15% finally reached the beneficiaries," Modi told the audience in his election constituency of Varanasi. “Despite the prime minister of the day admitting that there was leakage, there was no effort to plug it," Modi said, adding this was because there was no intention of doing so.
Modi was referring to a statement made by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the late 1980s that of every one rupee given by the government towards the benefit of the people, only 15 paise reached them.
Without naming the Congress party, Modi said: “They diagnosed the ailment but did not treat the illness. Even in the 10-15 years of rule thereafter, they did not try to plug the pilferage of 85% resources."
“Today’s reality is that technology has been used to arrest leakage of benefits 100%," Modi said, adding that an estimated ₹580,000 crore or $ 80 billion had been transferred to people for different programmes ranging from housing to education, scholarships and subsidised cooking gas cylinders.
Another example was the elimination of 700,000 non-existent people from government records who were availing of state benefits, Modi said.
Modi’s comments come against the backdrop of the opposition stepping up pressure on the BJP-led government on charges of being on the side of big business in the Rafale aircraft procurement deal.
He urged the Indian diaspora to make use of the opportunities presented by the “New India" that had been created in the past four and a half years, including opportunities in the research and development sector, in the areas of startups and innovation as well as defence manufacturing.