Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Friday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis in his Independence Day speech on family planning, respect for wealth creators and ban on single-plastic use.

“Of the three exhortations, I hope the finance minister and her legion of tax officials and investigators heard the PM’s second exhortation loud and clear,” he tweeted.

In his speech, the prime minister said wealth creators were the nation’s wealth. “Wealth creation is a great national service,” he said. “Let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed.”

Earlier this month, billionaire businessperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw claimed that a government official had asked her not to speak about matters such as harassment by income tax officers. Incidents of business leaders allegedly being harassed by tax officials came into the focus following the death of Cafe Coffee Day owner VG Siddhartha last month. Before he disappeared and allegedly committed suicide, Siddhartha had written in a letter to his company’s board of directors saying a former director general of income tax was harassing him.

“The first and third exhortations must become people’s movements,” Chidambaram said in his tweet. “There are hundreds of dedicated voluntary organisations that are willing to lead the movements at local levels.”

In his remarks, Modi expressed concern about the “population explosion” in the country, and said the central and state governments should launch measures to deal with the matter. “Population explosion can lead to problems for us in the future,” Modi said. “But there is a small, educated, aware class that acknowledges this problem and which stops to think before bringing a child to the world, whether they can do justice to the child, give them all that she or he wants. They deserve respect.”

About the ban on single-plastic use, Modi said: “In 2014, from the Red Fort, I talked about cleanliness. In 2019, soon, India will be ready to declare itself open-defecation free. Everyone helped make it a mass movement, without any role from the government. This October 2, can we make the country free from single-use plastic?”

The prime minister urged people to use cloth and paper bags instead of plastics.

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