Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed India on December 31 and largely discussed the success of the demonetization initiative. As many would remember, on November 8, 2016, the Indian Government had announced it was taking back the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, and introducing new notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2000.
Soon after that, PM Modi had dropped hints that he would be bringing in some more changes – sweeping at that – following the demonetization initiative. The speech came following the 50-day period PM Modi asked from the nation in order for things to be normal after the sudden announcement.
How Things Have Panned Out
In a number of public meetings following demonetization, the PM had stated that people would see their problems decrease after the 50-day period. The government has always claimed that it is taking all steps needed to contain the ill effects of the said decision, but people are still feeling the heat, so to speak. Ever since November 8, it is common to see snaking queues outside ATM counters. In fact, experts are also saying that it will be months before things become normal.
What Are Reports Saying?
A number of reports in the media were saying that Modi is supposed to announce some new measures to counteract the menace of black money and counterfeit currency when he goes for a rally in Uttar Pradesh on January 2, 2017. Incidentally, UP is supposed to go into elections soon. It was being said that during the speech he will announce something that would surely grab the headlines and also promote a feel good factor in light of the recent events. Recently, the national cabinet, headed by Modi, had decided that if anyone has the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes after March 31, 2017, it will be regarded as a contravention of laws. People caught in the act would be subjected to jail terms as well.
Rules and Regulations
As per existing rules and regulations, people will be allowed to deposit old notes in their bank accounts till December 31, 2016. They will also be permitted to deposit these notes at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) till March 31, 2017. As may be expected, the opposition has been fanning the flames by stating that the new policy was “rudderless and confused”, and questioning the logic behind the decisions. The government has also been accused of ignoring the parliament regarding a critical issue such as demonetization.
Reaction on Social Media
A lot of people had been peeved at how they were affected by demonetization, and as a result of the news that the PM was going to address the nation, they had taken to social media platforms such as Twitter to vent their angst at what they perceived as further bad news in waiting.
It was being stated that Modi is going to destroy the fun of New Year’s Eve for people and take up their valuable time. Lots of people also thought that this speech would ensure their year got off to a poor start.
In fact, a number of people also called him “sadistic” because they felt he won’t allow them to even celebrate the New Year properly. The situation has been termed “suffocating” as well.
Highlights of the Speech
Following are the highlights of Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on New Year’s Eve regarding demonetization and various future economic endeavours of the national government:
- Home loans in villages to get an exemption of 3% in case of amounts under and equal to INR 2 lakhs; amount to be used for expanding existing houses and building new ones;
- Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to receive credit guarantee of INR 2 crore, double than before; this will cover amount from non-banking financial companies (NBFC) as well;
- The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) to build 33% more homes in rural areas;
- Banks asked to increase cash credit limit to 25% from 20% for the small businesses;
- 30 million Kisan credit cards to be changed to RuPay cards;
- 8% interest to be provided for deposits till INR 7.5 lakh for a 10-year period for senior citizens;
- The government to pay interest for a period of 60 days for loans granted to Rabi farmers by various societies and district cooperative banks;
- Pregnant women to receive Rs 6000 in their bank accounts for taking better care of themselves and stop death of children at birth;
- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to receive Rs 20,000 crore so that they can loan money to the cooperatives at low rates of interest;
- Strong action to be taken against tax cheats;
- Home loans for urban poor to receive an exemption of 4% in case of amounts under and equal to INR 9 lakh; in case of amounts under and equal to INR 12 lakh an exemption of 3% to be granted.