Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that the government will set up a National Traders’ Welfare Board to address their problems, after May 23, when the results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared. The prime minister was speaking a “traders sammelan” in New Delhi.

Modi said the government will provide Rs 10 lakh accident insurance cover to all entities registered under the Goods and Services Tax. “The government will invest Rs 20,000 crore in the startup sector,” Modi added. “We will provide collateral-free loan of up to Rs 50 lakh. We will set up 50,000 startups in the country till 2024.”

“Congress governments following Independence took the stance that traders are responsible for whatever problems the country faces,” Modi claimed. “Congress took advantage of inflation, and claimed that traders are responsible for price rise. But the truth is that the traders of my country suffer doubly due to inflation.”

The prime minister claimed that in the past, traders had to suffer “the law of the jungle and a jungle of laws”. Contrary to the Congress’ claim of passing new laws, Modi said, his government has got rid of 1,500 laws in five years. The prime minister said the government has drastically reduced the number of forms to be filled to file tax returns.

Modi said the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax was the result of cooperation by the trader community. “GST has brought transparency in transactions,” he said. The prime minister claimed that 98% of items have been charged less than 18% tax under the new regime. He added that India improved 77 places in the Ease of Doing Business ranking over the past five years.

“Now you can get loans up to Rs 1 crore in less than one hour through the 59-minute portal,” Modi said. “There is no need to go to the bank.”

“The ‘naamdaars’ in Congress cannot see anything apart from themselves,” he claimed. “Mahatma Gandhi used to proudly proclaim himself as a Baniya, yet Congress abuses all businessmen, calls them thieves.”

The Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.