Mon, Jan 16, 2017 | updated 04:27 PM IST

Govt. is friend to good people, will build enabling environment: PM Modi

Updated: Dec 31, 2016 21:39 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec.31 (ANI): Describing his government as a friend of good people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the Centre is and will aim to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness.

Accepting and acknowledging that people have complained of bad experiences at the hands of government machinery, and some government officers, Prime Minister Modi, in his 43-minute-long address, said, "This reality cannot be wished away. No one can deny that government officers have a greater responsibility than common citizens. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us in government, at central, state and local levels, to protect the common man, help the honest, and isolate the dishonest."

Further stating that terrorism, Naxalism, Maoism, counterfeit currency trade, drug trade, and human trafficking are all dependent on black money, Modi said "these evils have become a festering sore on society and governments (and) demonetistion has dealt a severe blow to these trades."

"Events of the last few days indicate that escape routes for the dishonest have all been sealed. Technology has played a big role. The habitual offenders will be forced to abandon their misdeeds and join the mainstream.

He said that the country's banking system should see demonetisation as representative of a golden opportunity to do right by the citizens of the country.

"During this period, bank employees have worked day and night. Female employees too, worked till late hours as part of this mission. Post office staff, banking correspondents- all did exceptional work," he said.

However, he added that amid this herculean effort, some grave crimes by some officers in some banks had come to light.

"Some government officers have also committed serious offences, and tried to take advantage of the situation. They will not be spared. At this historic juncture, I wish to make an appeal to the banks. History is witness that the Indian banking system has never received such a large amount of money, in such a short time. While respecting the autonomy of the banks, I appeal to them to move beyond their traditional priorities, and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities," the Prime Minister said.

"India is celebrating the centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay as Garib Kalyan Varsh. Banks should also not let this opportunity slip. They should take appropriate decisions in public interest promptly," he said.

Prime Minister Modi had last addressed the nation on November 8, when he suddenly abolished 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a decision aimed at combating corruption and black or undeclared money.

The Prime Minister's move took out 86 per cent of the money in circulation and he had requested people to allow him 50 days to ease the cash crunch that followed, promising that the "short term pain" would be followed by long-term gain."

A deadline to exchange old notes at banks ended yesterday (Friday, December 30.)

As part of the demonetisation drive, how much money can be withdrawn from ATMs and banks will remain controlled for now. Starting tomorrow (January1), the daily limit on ATM withdrawals will go up to Rs. 4,500 rupees from Rs. 2,500, but the weekly cap on withdrawals from bank accounts stays capped at Rs. 24,000 rupees. The Reserve Bank of India has not indicated when the limits will be relaxed or removed.

The opposition united in attacking him for failing to anticipate how hard the notes ban would affect people, particularly in rural India where banks are tough to access.

While cash shortages have eased somewhat, bankers and analysts said the situation is far from normal and could last at least another six months. They said the move could hit economic growth and lead to job losses and a drop in demand for goods. The government has refuted these predictions. (ANI)