Free Press Journal

PM hints at ‘surgical hits’ to unearth black money


Gandhinagar : Prime Minister Narendra Modi provided broad hints of ‘surgical strikes’ against those who have failed to take advantage of the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) and come clean. “Rs 65,000 crore of unaccounted money has been declared under the IDS through voluntary disclosures. Imagine what would come out if we initiate surgical strikes,” the Prime Minister said at a public function in Vadodara on Saturday.

The Prime Minister who made a quick visit to his home state to inaugurate an integrated terminal building at Vadodara’s Harni airport built at a cost of Rs 160 crore and later distributed assisting devices like artificial limbs and tricycles to the physically handicapped at a public function pointed out that his government had saved over Rs 36,000 crore by removing middlemen and directly transferring money to beneficiaries by linking aadhar card to the jan dhan yojna. “Thus we have been able to collect Rs one lakh crores this way”, he added.

The prime minister who distributed assisting devices to about 10,000 ‘divyangs’ (physically challenged) also pointed out that 4500 such programmes have been conducted countrywide compared to just 56 between 1992 and 2014.

This is the fourth visit of the prime minister within the last three months to his home state and his first to Vadodara after taking over in Delhi. Modi was elected to the lok sabha from both Vadodara and Varanasi but chose to retain the later seat. With elections due in Gujarat in the last quarter of next year, Modi’s visit to his home state has seen a quantum jump, off late.

Modi pointed out that the country’s aviation sector was poised for a great leap forward with smaller towns now poised to unleash their true aviation potential and the middle class taking to air travel with developmental increments filtering down to them. “Don’t be surprised if over the years you find more people in India flying every year than the entire population of the US,” he added.

The integrated terminal of the Vadodara airport inaugurated by the prime minister on Saturday, which is spread over 18,000 sq metres, possesses the capacity to handle 700 domestic and international passengers every hour. The prime minister said that the country’s first railway university would be set up in Vadodara. “Our railways still continue to plod on in the old decrepit structure which needs to undergo an overhaul in keeping with changing times. We intend to do precisely that and the proposed university will play a major role in it,” he added. Vadodara already houses a railway college in one of the palaces donated by the royal family.

There was a stir of sorts in Vadodara on Saturday when hoardings of former prime minister Manmohan Singh appeared crediting him with the vision for initiating  the modernization of airport.