Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said there was no “simple cure to eradicate a disease that has infected our country for 70 years”, referring to corruption. In his first Mann ki Baat address to the nation since the government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, he said he understood “the inconvenience people are going through” but emphasised that it will take a minimum of 50 days for normalcy to return.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader urged the corrupt to not use the poor to convert their black money to white. “Whether you choose to mend your ways or not is your decision, but please don’t play with the lives of the poor,” he said. “Don’t do something which will force the poor to pay for your sins.”

Modi further commended staff at post offices and banks for their hard work and dedication. “The world is watching India, and every economist is analysing this [demonetisation] step. The world may be confused, but Indians have full faith that this country will succeed, the reason for this success will be the country’s citizen,” he added in his 26th Mann Ki Baat address.

Emphasising on propelling India towards a cashless economy, he urged small businesses to “enter the digital world”. “I reiterate that I need your support,” he said. “Take a pledge that you will be part of a cashless economy.”

The prime minister also said that he had discussed the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir with representatives from the Valley a few days ago. Modi also spoke about the Diwali he spent with soldiers at the border. “This year Diwali was different; the way the people of our country sent their messages to our jawans was amazing,” he said, further commending the youth of Kashmir for their dedication towards education.