Taking on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the party that ruled for so long made no effort to plug corruption despite a former prime minister identifying the malady, while the BJP ended "85 per cent of the loot" in four-and-a-half years.
Without naming Rajiv Gandhi, he alluded to the former prime minister's remark that only 15 paise of Re 1 reaches the masses and said Congress governments over the years did nothing to stop the leakage.
Modi said his government gave about Rs 5,80,000 crore to the people directly through various schemes.
Addressing NRIs and Indian-origin people at the inauguration of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, Modi described NRIs as India's brand ambassadors and said they were the symbols of the country's capabilities.
The government has changed the mindset that India cannot change, he said in the presence of chief guest Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, UP Governor Ram Naik, and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, among others.
Modi said India's contribution was being recognized at the international level, especially its role with regard to environment.
Taking a swipe at the Congress, Modi said it got to know about the disease, acknowledged the disease, but neither thought about it, nor did anything in the direction of curing the ailment.
“The party that ruled the country for so many years had given the system to the country, a truth that was accepted by the then prime minister. But what is regrettable is that later in its rule of 10-15 years, there was no effort made to end this loot and leakage,” Modi said.
The country's middle class kept giving tax honestly and this “loot” of 85 per cent also continued, he said.
“I also want to tell you today's truth as well. We used technology to end this loot of 85 per cent completely,” he said.
“In the last four-and-a-half years about Rs 5,80,000 crore, about USD 80 billion, our government, through various schemes, has directly given to the people, transferring it in their bank accounts. The money has been given out for various purposes such as for a home to someone, for education, for scholarship, for gas cylinder, and to other such ends this amount has been given.”
“Now just consider that if the country was being run through the old system, then even today from this 5,80,000 crore, about 4,50000 crore would have disappeared or leaked. If we would not have brought a change in the system then this amount would have been looted like the former prime minister had accepted that it was looted,” Modi said.
This corrective measure could have been taken earlier also, but there was no intention or will, he said.
Modi said his government also identified about 7 crore fake people who existed only on paper, taking advantage of government schemes.
“Just think about it, more than the population of many countries such as Britain, France, Italy, we had people who just existed on paper to take advantage of government schemes,” he said.
Mauritian Premier Jugnauth, who is the chief guest for the three-day event, also spoke on the occasion.
He hailed the prime minister for India's transformation through initiatives such as the Skill India and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes.
He also praised Modi's global stewardship in promoting clean energy and for setting up the International Solar Alliance.
Jugnauth announced that his country will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav next month and a Bhojpuri Festival next year.
For the first time, the three-day convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital.
The theme of this year's convention is 'Role of Indian diaspora in building new India'.