Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party is fighting for the poor and had taken several steps to plug leakages in government schemes and made annual saving of Rs.49,500 crore that belonged to the poor but was going to the middlemen.
“My fight is for the poor and giving the poor their due. This fight will continue,” Modi said while replying to a debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address in the Lok Sabha.
He then said that his fight for the poor has saved the poor man's money going to the middlemen.
"In a year, we have been able to save Rs.49,500 crore going to middlemen," Modi said, adding that the money belonged to the poor.
Pointing out that there was leakage in various government schemes, including the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Public Distribution System, Modi said steps taken to plug the gaps were hampering "vested interests" and such people operated in almost every street of the country and siphoned off funds meant for the poor.
"The measures of the government have caused problems to big people. They will be after me, but I am prepared," he said.
Modi said 3.95 crore fake ration cards had been detected and leakages plugged to the tune of Rs.14,000 crore.
He also said the government's moves towards promotion of LED bulbs, which consume less power compared to other bulbs, had brought down power bills and enabled savings of Rs.11,000 crore. He said that payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme through direct benefit transfer in the accounts had plugged leakage of Rs.7,633 crore.
Hitting out at the Opposition, particularly the Congress, Modi alleged them of politicising his cleanliness drive.
"I was surprised that there were some who made cleanliness also a political issue. Why can't we work together on ushering a Swachh Bharat,” Modi said.
“Like Swachh Bharat, the decision on demonetisation is a movement to clean India (from corruption and black money),” he said.
He also stated that the Congress ignored the contribution of others to the country's independence by making it out to be a a family's (Nehru-Gandhi) efforts.
“For it (Congress), the country got freedom only because of efforts of one family,” Modi said.
He then questioned lapses during the Congress regime.
“Why Benami law passed during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure in 1988 was not notified for 26 years,” Modi asked.
The prime minister also spoke on his demonetisation policy and said that the timing of its implementation was the best.
“The timing of demonetisation was the best… and the economy was doing well,” he said.
Talking about budget merger, Modi said, “When the Rail budget was first presented, the transport sector was different. Now things are different and a more comprehensive look is needed”.