New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday set out a stern warning of tough action against the "dishonest" people even as he announced a slew of sops for senior citizens, farmers, rural housing, women and small entrepreneurs to soften the blow of demonetisation.
He 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".
Modi said all concerned in the banks have been told to focus on reducing inconveniences posed by curbs on cash withdrawals since demonetisation.
He however did not say when the restrictions on withdrawals will be lifted.
He said banks should also use the opportunity to break from break from traditional lending to prioritise their lending to poor and vulnerable sections.
Prime Minister asked political parties to move away from holier-than-thou attitude and come together to take some steps to ensure transparency and free politics of black money and corruption.
"We cannot allow this fight against black money or corruption to slow down," he said.
He said time has come for a serious debate on breaking the endless cycle of elections and cutting down on administrative expenses by holding Parliamentary and Assembly elections simultaneously.
Modi also announced raising credit guarantees for MSMEs and concerting kisan credit card to rupay cards.
"We cannot allow this fight against black money or corruption to slow down," he said....