New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that his government regards delay in completion of government works as "criminal negligence" and asserted that it has eliminated eight crore fake beneficiaries of government schemes and boosted employment with creation of 1.20 crore jobs in a year.
Speaking at the Rising India summit organised by CNN-News 18, Modi also took a dig at the opposition leaders coming together, saying their only purpose was to deride and discredit him. He said his government has ensured that every paisa paid by honest tax-payers is used properly.
The Prime Minister said his government's push through the Jan-Dhan scheme led to opening of 32 crore new accounts, and their linking to Aadhaar and mobile numbers has eliminated fake beneficiaries.
"There were eight crore fake names and eliminating them has resulted in a saving of Rs 1.10 lakh crore. This amount was going into the pockets of middlemen every year, while our government has sent Rs 6 lakh crore directly into the accounts of beneficiaries of government schemes," he said.
Referring to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's remark that only 15 per cent of every rupee sent by the Central government reaches real beneficiary, Modi said now 100 per cent of the money sent is reaching them.
He said people whose interests have been hurt by plugging of leakages are upset with him.
Targeting Congress, he said some of its leaders had also moved the Supreme Court against Aadhaar. "We used Aadhaar in a way that those who were pocketing Rs 1.10 lakh crore cannot do so now."
He said efforts have also been made to stop leakage in the government's ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme and the data of Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 has been used to identify the beneficiaries.
The Prime Minister said that while he launched PM-KISAN on Sunday, he inaugurated the National War Memorial, a long-pending demand of soldiers, on Monday. "Yesterday it was Jai Kisan, today it is Jai Jawan," Modi said.
The money under PM-KISAN will also be transferred directly to the beneficiaries.
"The possibility of leakage is zero. Those who were dishonest, their shops have been shut, the ways of loot have been closed. Those, who were eating for 70 years, can't do so any more. So, they have come together now. Our effort is that every paisa given by the tax-payer is used honestly."
Seeking to woo the middle class as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepares for the Lok Sabha elections, he said if previous governments had cared about the honest tax-payer, they would not have let the projects linger.
Citing examples, Modi said an irrigation project in Uttar Pradesh, which could have been completed with Rs 300 crore four decades back, required Rs 3,000 crore to be completed in 2014.
"What had stopped them from working. There was lack of determination to complete projects on time. It required thinking beyond vested interests and doing away with 'chalta hai, chalne do' (easy going) attitude," he said.
He also cited example of a project in Bihar whose cost has risen multiple times over the past decades.
Modi said he has made efforts to accelerate projects worth Rs 12 lakh crore by reviewing their progress through Pragati initiative, and several of these projects relate to Northeast.
He said his government has worked with the mantra of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" and this has given confidence for creation of a new India.
With the Congress and other opposition parties attacking him on the issue of unemployment, Modi said it is not possible to be the world's fastest growing big economy without creating jobs. He said reduction in poverty cannot be brought without employment creation.
Modi said six lakh new professionals have started paying income tax in the last four years and they have created thousands of jobs. Citing figures of sales of commercial vehicles, loans being sanctioned under Mudra, EPFO and ESIC enrolments, growth in aviation and boost in tourism, Modi said that 1.20 crore jobs were created in a year.
However, he said, more needs to be done and his government is moving in that direction.
Modi also attacked the previous Congress-led UPA government over high inflation and corruption and said his government has not only boosted growth but also enhanced India's global standing and rankings.
His government has brought improved work culture in government offices and launched initiatives for all sections, especially the poor, he added.