Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Reuters )
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a raft of measures for the lower income group, senior citizens and pregnant women.
New housing schemes targeting the poor and lower middle class and new initiatives to encourage the farming sector and micro, small and medium enterprises in the country were also a part of the prime minister's New Year sops.
"The Prime Minister has congratulated people on having ensured that the world's largest drive against corruption and black money is a huge success. A series of welfare measures for women, senior citizens, farmers and middle classes are his way of thanking the people for their unstinted support," BJP spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao said.
The prime minister also assuaged the honest people that the government will act as a friend to them so that their difficulties are eased.
Among the sops announced in his address to the nation at the end of 50-day demonetisation period, Modi said senior citizens will get 8 per cent interest on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years and deposit of Rs 6000 into accounts of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas to meet medical expenses.
For farmers, he announced that banks will not charge interest for 60 days on loans taken from district cooperative central bank and primary societies for rabi crop.
For construction or expansion of a rural house, 3 per cent interest will be waived on loan of upto Rs 2 lakh.
Announcing two new schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he said 4 per cent interest subvention on loans upto Rs 9 lakh and 3 per cent on loan upto Rs 12 lakh.
"The law will take its course with full force. The government will help the honest and protect them and see their difficulties are eased. How honest will gain from the government. This government is a friend of good people and wants to build on the good environment for the people to return to goodness," he said.
Acknowledging that "serious offences" have been committed by some bank and government officials taking advantage of situation, he said "they will not be spared".
Here are the key points from PM Modi's speech:
8.12pm: The prime minister also took a swipe at his critics, saying that the farming sector has not been hit hard by demonetisation. He said fertiliser sales are up by 9 per cent and rabi sowing has seen a 6 per cent increase
8.10pm: Modi has doubled the credit guarantee for MSMEs from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. That means micro, small and medium enterprises can take loan up to Rs 2 crore without any collateral
8.08pm: People prefer digital transactions. Also reiterates the BHIM app that was launched on December 30. The app will assist the poor in making digital transactions
8.05pm: Cash credit limit to be increased from 20 to 25 per cent on turnover of small enterprises
8.03pm: Modi also announces sops for pregnant women and senior citizens. For senior citizens, fixed deposit up to Rs 7.5 lakh will remain at 8 per cent for the next ten years. He has also promised Rs 6,000 cash assistance to pregnant women. The money will be transferred to their accounts directly. Earlier, pregnant women in 53 districts were given financial assistance of Rs 4,000 as part of pilot project
7.58: Three crore kisan (farmer) cards will be converted into Rupay cards in the next three months
7.56pm: Modi offers a raft of sops for the lower income group to purchase property
7.54pm: The poor and the lower income group can avail up to Rs 9 lakh loan will get 4 per cent exemption on interest. Those who look to avail Rs 12 lakh will get 3 per cent interest rebate
7.53pm: Modi announces two housing schemes for the poor people
7.51pm: Twenty four lakh people have declared their income to be above Rs 10 lakh per annum, says the Prime MInister
7.49pm: Modi also lauds the efforts put in by the banks and post offices across the country, but also chastises some bank officials of trying to help the corrupt skirt the demonetisation policy. Promises to act tough on them
7.47pm: The Naxals, arm dealers were all dealing in black money. But demonetisation has curbed their activities: Modi
7.46pm: The Indian premier promises to crack down on those found guilty of perpetrating the show economy
7.44pm: Plan to scrap cash was to corner the corrupt. Wanted to bolster the honest of the country. Wanted to ease the pain of the common man: PM
7.40pm: It was important to battle the scourge of black money. The rich were amassing money while the poor continued struggling: Modi
7.34pm: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanks the people of India for supporting demonetisation of old currency notes. Says the country witnessed a cleansing ritual since November 8 -- the date the Indian government announced its plan to scrap old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
(WION with inputs from PTI)