Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the country on New Year’s Eve for its “support and cooperation” in the demonetization drive that he launched suddenly earlier last month and announced a slew of schemes for the urban and rural poor.
Calling the scrapping of currency notes of higher denominations as a “purification drive”, Modi said in a televised address to the nation Saturday night that “India has gone through a massive cleansing process, purification drive with demonetization”.
“Indians have redefined the concept of sacrifice and shown unparalleled example of citizen sacrifice. This is the first instance in India’s history when the government and the people have fought shoulder to shoulder,” he added.
Stating that the government’s priority is to ensure help and protection for the honest, the prime minister said, “I appeal to banks to prioritize the poor, lower middle class and underprivileged.”
Modi also announced new schemes for the urban and rural poor. “To help the middle class and the poor buy or build homes, the government has brought two schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana,” he said.
“Subsidised loans will be made available for building or expanding homes in rural India. Low-interest loans will also be made available to the urban poor. Housing for the rural poor will be increased by 33 percent.”
“In villages, those wanting to build or expand their homes will get loans of up to 200,000 Indian rupees (4,000 U.S. dollars) with a 3 percent interest relief,” he said.
Modi also spelt out a few schemes for pregnant women and senior citizens. “Pregnant women will get 6,000 Indian rupees (100 U.S. dollars) for their delivery, vaccination, for nutritious meals. And senior citizens will be assured 8 percent interest on their bank deposits,” he added.
The prime minister had on November 8, in a sudden televised address to the nation, announced the scrapping of currency notes of higher denominations in a bid to curb the menace of black money and prevent circulation of fake currency among terrorists. Enditem