Narendra Modi uses Rajiv Gandhi’s remark to hit out at Congress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday aimed the Congress by referring to a statement made by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi that only 15 paise out of a rupee meant for the welfare of the people actually reaches them, adding that his government has plugged such leaks while the Congress could not do so.

Modi was talking at the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in Varanasi.

“A former prime minister said if one rupee is sent from Delhi, only 15 paise reaches the village,” Modi told the gathering. “The prime minister of a party, which ruled the country for so long, accepted it. Unfortunately, that party did nothing to stop this loot or plug the leakages, even when it returned to power for 10-15 years. They knew of the disease but did nothing to cure it. The middle class of the country kept paying tax honestly but this loot of 85% (of money sent for public welfare) continued.”

Modi said his government used technology to end this “loot” and transferred Rs 5.8 lakh crore directly into the bank accounts of people through ‘direct benefit transfer’.

“You can imagine if the old arrangement continued, almost Rs 4.5 lakh crore would have been siphoned off. This change could have been brought earlier too but the then government did not have the intention or will to do it,” Modi said.

He added that almost 70 million “fake beneficiaries” have been removed from the records, who had earlier been claiming such funds.

“You can imagine…7 crore people is equal to the population of Britain (sic) or France or Italy. So many people, almost 7 crores, were never born but existed only on paper and they kept on getting benefits. But we identified these people and removed them from the system,” the PM said.

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