Calling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) an unprecedented feat in India's economic history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 34th Mann ki baat address on Sunday said that the implementation of the new indirect tax system has brought positive changes in the economy.
Lauding all stakeholders including citizens, government officials and state governments for the smooth transition to GST, Modi said, "I extend my heartiest felicitations to each & every ministry, every dept. and all employees of central and state governments."
"GST is more than just a tax reform as it also ushers in a new culture. GST rollout is an example of cooperative federalism as states are partners in the decision making process," Modi added while talking about the benefits of the tax system which came into effect on 1 July.
The prime minister added that the successful implementation of the GST will be studied by top economists of the world one day, claiming that the implementation of such a tax regime in a vast country like India is testimony to its success story.
"GST is a fine example of the collective strength of the people of India. This is a historic achievement as it will not usher in economic prosperity but also effect change in India's social fabric," Modi said. Modi said that he received letters from the countrymen and felt "very happy and satisfied when a poor person writes to say how because of GST prices of various items essential for him have come down, and commodities have become cheaper".
From the topic of GST, Modi then switched to the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement and India's 70th year of independence.
Praising India's freedom fighters for their sacrifice during the independence movement, Modi called August a "revolutionary month".
"My dear countrymen, the month of August is the month of revolution. There are many events in the month of August that are closely associated with the history of our freedom movement. Heroes of freedom struggle endured hardship, made great sacrifices and laid down their lives," Modi said.
Urging youngsters to learn more about the freedom movement, especially the Quit India and Non-Cooperation Movement, the prime minister announced that the government will come out with a Quit India Quiz to educate the youth about India's freedom movement.
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) July 30, 2017
Modi said that just as the freedom fighters took the pledge to drive out the British in 1942, Indians on 15 August, 2017, should resolve to transform India by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th year of independence. "Just as the five years from 1942 to 1947 were decisive for the country's independence, these five years from 2017 to 2022 can and must play a decisive role for the future of India," Modi said and continued, "In 2022, marking 75 years of freedom, we will certainly transform that resolve into siddhi or attainment," Modi said. Modi identified communalism, casteism, corruption, terrorism, poverty and dirt as major problems plaguing India and asked people to work for their removal in the same spirit of "Quit India". "Filth - Quit India; Poverty - Quit India; Corruption - Quit India; Terrorism - Quit India; Casteism - Quit India; Communalism - Quit India," Modi said.
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) July 30, 2017
Interestingly, Modi said that he has heard about "complaints" that his previous Independence Day addresses were long and that he will try to keep it short this time. "I will try to finish it in 40-45-50 minutes. I have tried to make a rule for myself. I don't know whether I will be able to do it or not," he added.
Modi also addressed the nation on the floods in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and other parts of India. Modi reiterated how several agencies and volunteers have been contributing to allay the distress.
"During the floods governmental agencies, Indian Army, National Disaster Response Force, paramilitary forces, everyone gets down to help others", Modi said during his radio address, which is broadcast on the last Sunday of every month.
Modi also said the farmers are primary flood victims and that his government is endeavouring to get them the compensation speedily in case of crop loss through insurance. Modi also added that because of technological advancement, weather can be predicted with near-perfect accuracy now.
Modi spoke about Indian women's cricket team for reaching the final of the World Cup and said, "Our daughters are bringing laurels to the country in all the fields — be it education, economic activities, social spheres or in sports".
"Our daughters performed brilliantly in the Women's Cricket World Cup. This week I had the opportunity to meet our daughters, the members of our Women's Cricket team. I felt happy talking to them, but I had a feeling that they felt burdened by the fact that they could not win the World Cup."
Modi said he urged them to look at the way India supported them and take pride in their accomplishment. "Look, this is the age of the media. So expectations get hyped up to such an extent that if corresponding success is not achieved, these turn into despair and even resentment. We have seen during many such events where if the Indian players fail, the anger of the country is vented towards the players."
The prime minister said the 1.25 billion people "took this defeat on their own shoulders, never letting the burden weigh down these daughters of ours. I view this as a healthy and pleasant change and I told these daughters that only they were blessed with such good fortune, and hence they should banish any thought of not having been successful".
Modi also referred to the upcoming season of festivals like Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali and urged the people to use the items made by the poor people of the country as it is relates to their economic empowerment.
"Our festivals are not only for celebrations. Our festivals are also an instrument of societal improvement. Also, it has direct relation to the economic condition of the poor people," Modi said.
"This is the time when the poor people get an opportunity to make an earning," Modi said. Giving the example of Diwali, he said the people should use environment-friendly 'diyas' (small oil lamps) only. Such things, he said, will give work to the poor people and help in their empowerment.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 31, 2017 07:45 AM