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PM Narendra Modi: 2019 elections will be Janata versus Gathbandhan
jkupdate.com | 02-Jan-2019 07:33 AM
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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi.




NEW DELHI: Stating that the decision to demonetise high-value currency in November 2016 brought currencies that earlier came from “different places” to the banking system and brought in “an atmosphere of honesty”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the step was “necessary for the country’s economy”. Excerpts from an interview:

BJP’s stand on Sabarimala and triple talaq

These are two separate things. Most Islamic countries, including Pakistan, have banned triple talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. It is an issue of gender equality (and) social justice. It is not an issue of faith. In India, we respect all religions. Every temple has its own customs and traditions, there are some temples in India where men cannot enter. The judgment by the woman judge (in SC) should be read carefully. No need to attribute this to any political party, she has given that order looking at the issue as a woman. There has to be a debate on that also.

On demonetisation

No one could deny there was a parallel economy (operating) in India. There was a need for a formal economy. Demonetisation’s biggest achievement was that currencies we used to see coming out of different places have come to the banking system. We needed to have an atmosphere of honesty; now we have more people in tax net. Are they not positive impact of note-ban?

Cash to GDP ratio is going down…. This wasn’t a jhatka… This did not happen overnight. We had warned people a year in advance…if you have such wealth (black money), you can deposit it, pay penalties and you will be helped out. They thought Modi too would behave like others, so very few came forward voluntarily. It was necessary for the country’s economy. Any change would slow down the growth…. When Manmohan Singh was Finance Minister and introduced economic reforms (in 1991), the GDP dropped. But it revived soon.

On GST implementation

Did all (not) parties agree to implement GST? Was it not done on consensus? It has been on since the time Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister… It was passed by Parliament with consensus. Our country had 30-40 per cent tax value. GST has simplified the tax system. Now more than 500 items are at zero tax. Tax on essential commodities have come down. The government does not take these decisions; these are (decisions) by the GST Council in which every state and Union Territories are members.

All decisions by GST were taken by the Council – Congress governments (in states) are also part of it…. Just creating a political hue and cry is not good…. We are consistently trying to simplify it, make it useful for consumers. Whatever we have done so far in such a diverse country in such short span of time is not a small thing. But I still agree, there are issues and we are continuously trying to improve it.

On farm loan waiver

I would call it a lollipop that we announce loan waiver for all farmers. But in reality, it’s not done. There is no point in telling lies and mislead people…. A responsible party should never lie. If waiving loans could save farmers, it should be done. But has it ever happened? Even in Devi Lal’s time, it (loan waiver) was done. In 2008 also, in order to win election, the government had announced loan waiver.

The solution is that make the farmer strong and empowered. Make facilities for farmers in every stage — from seeds to selling their produce. Haven’t we done that? We have irrigation schemes…making efforts to see farmers do not have debts. Most farmers do not take bank loans, and these waivers do not help them. These are political stunts. Still, if any state government does it, we do not stop it . Some BJP governments also did it. We are committed to resolve problems faced by farmers.

No one gave the BJP any chance in Telangana and Mizoram. In Chhattisgarh, a clear mandate was given – the BJP lost. But in two states (Rajasthan and MP) there was a hung Assembly. Fifteen years of anti-incumbency was being fought by our people. We are discussing what was lacking. But we won all in Haryana local polls, there was 90-95 per cent victory in Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 74-per cent polling and BJP won in many of those places. Winning or losing is not the only yardstick.

On dialogue with Pakistan

India, whether (under) UPA or NDA government, has never opposed dialogue with Pakistan. It has been the consistent policy of the country — not the Modi government or the Manmohan Singh government – that there should be dialogue on issues. We only say one thing: dialogue cannot be heard in the middle of the noise of bombs and guns.

On incidents of lynching
No such incident reflects well on a civilised society, and no voice should ever support such incidents. This is totally wrong and condemnable. (But) did it (lynching) start after 2014? This is a result of social ills. We should all work collectively to improve the situation. I am not in favour of pursuing a debate on what happened in this government and that government – even one incident is condemnable.

On Mahagathbandhan

In five years, is there something concrete the Mahagathbandhan has said in one voice? They speak in different voices. Who are these people? To save themselves, they are looking for support. Their single-point agenda is Modi: do this to Modi, that to Modi…. Take any 10 pages of a newspaper, 10 leaders of alliance in different voices abuse Modi. There is no articulation on what they would do for the nation, and why they will do it.

On 2019 polls

The Indian public will decided the course of elections…. It is going to be Janata versus Gathbandhan. Modi is just a manifestation of public love and blessings.

On former RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s exit

The RBI Governor himself requested (to resign) because of personal reasons. I am revealing this: he told me…6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it in writing. He wrote to me personally… I acknowledge that Patel did a good job as RBI Governor.

On Rafale controversy

This is not an allegation against me personally, but an allegation against my government. If there is any allegation against me personally, let them dig who gave what, when, where and to whom. In Parliament, I have spoken elaborately on this and whichever public forum I got, I spoke about this. The matter has been cleared even by the Supreme Court. The French President has spoken…

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