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BIDAR: Faced with the Opposition’s criticism of demonetisation and GST, Prime Minister Narendra Modi struck a defiant note on Sunday saying he was prepared to pay any price but won’t take his foot off the reforms pedal.
“The government would make changes to better the system, and whether we remain or not, we will not let the nation be ruined,” Modi said. “There would be no rollback of the mega reform move,” Modi said, and slammed the Congress saying that the previous UPA government was only familiar with “atkana” (creating hurdles), “latkana” (dragging) and “bhatkana” (misdirecting) the people.
Modi’s remarks came against the backdrop of the Opposition plan to raise the political ante over demonetization and GST, and leverage unrest in certain quarters over the twin measures as a stick to beat BJP with in Gujarat elections.
His comments were the second refutation of the speculation in certain quarters that criticism of GST had pushed the PM on the back foot, and that he would try to scatter the authorship of the reform across the political spectrum.
Congress has already declared it would hold protest on the anniversary of demonetization on November 8. The BJP, taking the cue from PM, has said it would celebrate the anniversary of demonetization as anti-black money day.
Modi also said implementation of GST was a collective decision of all political parties and was largely accepted by the business community.
“There are some errors that need to be rectified and we are open about it,” he said. “We are open to incorporate suggestions and make changes to better the system.”
Modi said the business community was gradually accepting the move. “Earlier, many businessmen used to transact without receipts and accounts. Now they are realizing that it was wrong and are thinking in the interest of the nation,” he said.
The PM allayed fears of the business community about a hike in taxes and said: “Some babus are threatening to enhance the tax in the coming years and reopening their old transactions. I assure the business fraternity that no officer will open their old registers…”
He also launched a veiled but scathing attack on Congress over corruption in development funds, asking which was the ‘hand’ that reduced every rupee of government money to 15 paise before it reached the beneficiary. Modi took a dig at the opposition for the party’s criticism of demonetisation. Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, he recalled that a former PM had said that from every rupee sanctioned by the government, only 15 paise reached its beneficiary in a village.