Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a dig at those opposed to the electoral bonds scheme, and said some people have problems with anything that is done to ensure transparency, PTI reported. Nowadays, electoral bonds are the favourite topic for such individuals, he said.
“Before the [Parliament] session, news is planted or made a breaking news,” Modi said at the Republic TV Summit in New Delhi. “There was a similar pattern in NPAs [non performing assets], EVMs [electronic voting machines, Rafale jets and a few days back when the government cut down the corporate tax, they again started. These days election bonds has become their favourite topic. Some people have issues if anything happens in the country to ensure transparency.”
Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem them for money. These bonds are anonymous. The scheme was notified in January 2018.
A report in HuffPost India on November 18 had revealed that the Centre had ignored the Reserve Bank of India’s suggestion to not launch electoral bonds. This led to an uproar in Parliament. On November 22, Opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha asked Modi to respond to the allegations surrounding the electoral bonds scheme. They also alleged that the government had “legalised corruption” through the issue of the bonds.
‘Ayodhya matter could have been solved much earlier’: Modi
Modi also took a swipe at the Congress, alleging that the “sensitive and emotional” Ayodhya matter could have been solved much earlier, but was derailed due to the “vote bank politics” of some parties. The Supreme Court had on November 9 ordered that the disputed land in Ayodhya be given to a trust, which would then consider building a Ram temple there. It also offered the Muslim parties to the case five acres of land in any other part of Ayodhya to build a mosque.
The prime minister claimed that uncertainty caused due to Article 370 gave a boost to separatism in Jammu and Kashmir. By abrogating the special status of the erstwhile state, his government has reestablished the supremacy of the Constitution of India, he said.
Modi said that the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir had been a temporary provision at the time of its inception. However, due to the “political selfishness of some people and families”, it was considered permanent, he alleged. “Some people always created an artificial logic of fear...to justify their actions,” the prime minister said.
He also said that had it not been for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, the Goods and Services Tax matter would have dragged on for much longer. “On basic amenities for common people, average tax has been halved for about 99% products due to GST,” Modi claimed. “There was a time when electronic devices were taxed 31%. Today it stands at 10-12% only.”
Modi said that in the last five years, the whole country has witnessed a transformation. “We have moved on from problems to solutions,” he said. “Problems that have lingered for decades have been solved.”