Lucknow: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday alleged that under previous governments loans were indiscriminately given to ‘friends and relatives” of those in power, while the needs of artisans and small and cottage industries were ignored.
Addressing a gathering held here to mark the launch of PM Vishwakarma Yojana, Singh recounted various initiatives like the Jan Dhan scheme taken by the Modi government for the poor and said the opposition had mocked them but they proved very effective.
”In this scheme, we have also made a provision that if our artisans and workers want to expand their business… then they will loan up to Rs 1 lakh on negligible interest.
”If your business does well with this loan, then after 18 months, if the need arises, the loan will be increased to Rs 2 lakh…,” he said, stressing that the BJP government at the Centre is connected to the people and frames policies and programmes that match their needs.
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He said the BJP government has been steadfastly striving to provide the small-scale sector opportunities to develop and prosper.
”During previous governments, loans were given only to certain people. They were more kind to the people who were closely associated with the government,” he alleged.
The minister claimed the country is still suffering the consequences of the indiscriminate way loans were given before the BJP came to power.
”Our government is not the kind in which one’s friends and relatives are given large amounts of loan from banks. Our government is the government of the people of this country. There is an unbreakable bond of trust between us and the people. We trust the public and the public also trusts us,” Singh said.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, the defence minister said, ”Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt of economic prosperity of the country through small workers of India. Bapu believed that if the small industries of the country are strengthened, then there will be rural development and if the villages of this country rise, then the pace of our development will be faster.”
He stressed, ”To realise Bapu’s dream, we are making every effort to take the country’s small-scale industries along in the journey of development. This effort of ours cannot be completed without all of you Vishwakarma brothers, so we have come to you with the PM Vishwakarma scheme.”
Referring to the Jan Dhan accounts, Singh, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Lucknow, said that more than Rs 2 lakh crore have been deposited in more than 50 crore Jan Dhan accounts.
”The Jan Dhan accounts which were ridiculed (once), today you get the gas subsidy through Jan Dhan accounts, and through the same Jan Dhan account you will also get assistance under PM Vishwakarma Yojana.
”When we opened bank accounts for the poor through Jan Dhan Yojana, we were ridiculed by those who said that 50 paise and one rupee would be deposited in these accounts,” Singh said.
He also said that the government has taken the initiative to give artisans identity cards through Vishwakarma Yojana.
”As I just mentioned to you, one of the biggest reasons for the worsening of the condition of our artisans and workers was that their identity was snatched away from them by the previous governments,” Singh said.
He added, ”When senior officials can have identity cards, doctors and engineers can have identity cards, then why can’t workers and artisans have identity cards? Under the PM Vishwakarma Yojana, you will get respect, recognition and also an identity card.”
Referring to the defence sector, Singh spoke about the various Make in India initiatives.
”Today, almost all weapons like fighter jets, tanks, etc. for the use of our army are being made only in India. We are now preparing equipment worth Rs 1 lakh crore in our own country, which is a record for India. We are not only manufacturing the equipment needed by the army, but we are also exporting it to foreign countries.”
”In defence exports also, we have crossed the figure of Rs 16,000 crore this financial year. This has happened for the first time in India since independence. I believe that it will increase to Rs 25,000 crore this year,” Singh said.
He said the government is able to take these initiatives as it is directly connected with the public.
”We understand the sentiments of the public, we understand the problems of the public and also work with full commitment to solve them,” Singh said.