New Delhi [India], Dec.31 (ANI
): Stating that political parties, political leaders and electoral funding figure prominently in any debate on corruption and black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his second address to the nation in 51 days, said Saturday that the time has now come that all political leaders and parties respect the feelings of the nation's honest citizens, and understand the anger of the people.
"It is true that from time to time, political parties have made constructive efforts to improve the system. I urge all parties and leaders to move away from a "holier than thou approach," to come together in prioritising transparency, and take firm steps to free politics of black money and corruption, Modi said during his 43-minute-long address.
On the issue of electoral funding, he said, "In our country, people ranging from the common man to the President, have at some point or another, advocated simultaneous conduct of state and national elections. This is to break the endless cycle of elections, reduce election expenditure, and minimise pressure on the administrative machinery. The time has come for this to be seriously considered and debated.
Emphasizing that positive change has always found space in India, Prime Minister Modi said, "We can now see a positive momentum towards digital transactions in India. More and more people are transacting digitally."
In this regard, he made a special mention of what he called the new swadeshi platform for digital transactions - named BHIM after Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
"BHIM stands for Bharat Interface for Money. I call upon the youth, the trading community, and farmers to connect with BHIM as much as possible. Friends, the developments, decisions, and policies that were put in place after Diwali, will of course be evaluated by economists. It will be good if social scientists also do the same.
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As part of the demonetisation drive, how much money can be withdrawn from ATMs and banks will remain controlled for now.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