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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
12-November-2016 21:38 IST
English rendering of PM’s address to the Indian Community in Kobe, Japan

Namaste (Good Morning/ Good Evening),

I had the good luck of meeting you in Kobe earlier also. But, at that time no one had any idea that such a person would become Prime Minister one day. At that time also you gave me as much love and affection and I can never forget that.  How can I think that I would visit Kobe and without meeting you go back!

Yesterday, I was talking to Prime Minister Abe about my connection with Kobe ! I told him, in 2001 when a massive earthquake had struck Gujarat, at that time it was Kobe that responded first and helped the people of Gujarat. And help from Kobe came though the city itself was struck by an earthquake earlier. They say,one may not come in times of happiness, better if he comes but if one does not reach out in times of crisis he is remembered and  the one who responds in a crisis is lovingly remebered for the rest of the life. Kobe was the first among those who responded in that crisis so it is quite natural to remember it and respect it.  All of you must be taking pride in this, each and every news about India is be a matter of pride for you. Is it or is it’nt that ? You must be talking confidently to others looking into their eyes. And the reason for this is not Modi; the reason is 1.25 billion Indians. It is a matter of pride for anybody that  the way the people of India, especially the young generation are making a determined effort to take the  country forward.

In the last two years we had terrible droughts. The rain was very scarce and India’s economy is like that that everything creaks under the strain during the droughts but despite that, despite the droughts for the two years, despite the scarcity, today the whole world is saying this in one voice that if there is an economy among the major economies that is growing at a rapid pace, it is India. Be it IMF or be it the World Bank, all of them are saying this in one voice. IMF has said that India is a bright spot.

Economists all over the world admit that India is growing at a fast speed. FDI, Foreign Direct Investment, I have a separate definition – FDI means First Develop India and the second one is Foreign Direct Investments and these days India is receiving the maximum FDI in its history. Even the rate of growth of FDI inflows is highest in the history. So these things reveal that Indian economy is growing at a very fast speedpace.

Poverty was always discussed in our country. It’s not like that I had started this thing after coming to power, most of the time poverty was discussed during the elections. However, everything is forgotten afterwards. I have started this thing after the election and I’m moving ahead on this thing with great speed that the country should get rid of the poverty. We can do it, forty per cent people of our country had no access to banking system. He could not even think of whether to enter or not to enter in such a massive building with massive glasses. After coming to power we launched a movement that first we would open the bank accounts for everyone. So there was no money. It entails the expenses on stationary etc., even the application form would cost 50 paisa or one rupee. We said in the government that no money will be taken for opening the accounts; open the account free of cost. You know what would have happened for a few days but within the government everyone agreed. And we told the poor that your bank account will be opened even if you don’t have any money. And, the bank accounts have been opened for almost every poor family in the country. And we have said this thing to the poor that your account will be opened even if you don’t have single rupee. However, this is the uniqueness of our country that the poor have shown their kind heartedness. Several times we see the rich acting miserly but we got the good fortune of witnessing the kind heartedness of poor people. We told them that it’s okay even if you didn’t deposit a single rupee. Despite this thing, the poor people who have never been to the banks, whose accounts were never opened, the same poor people deposited more than 45 thousand crore rupees in the banks in response to this call. This is the richness of poor people and this is the biggest strength of our country. It is capable of making the country of our dreams.

Japan suffered a massive natural calamity in 2011. An earthquake struck Japan, that was followed by a tsunami causing the Fukushima accident in your country at that time. If you remember those days in 2011, electricity cuts, in case of water, making to do with one bottle if four bottles were required, and if someone wants yogurt then avoid it or purchase it in small quantity. The government expressed its wishes for the government offices throughout Japan, however, people considered it their own responsibility and everyone if he was asked not to wear a coat, paint and tie then he followed it, if they were asked to turn off the ACs then they followed it. If they were asked not to use more water than the requirement then they followed it. If they were advised to run the household with less items, if they cooked vegetables three times a day and if they were asked to manage by cooking vegetables only once a day then they managed it. You people have done it; people of Japan have done it. When I was reading about all these things, and later when I came here, I heard all these things then sometimes I thought to myself that what a great people these were? What kind of hardships they suffer for the country. Sometimes, this thought comes to my mind that whether this thing is possible in our country? Is it possible? And today I can say this thing with great confidence that the common man of India, if he gets the opportunity, if it comes to fulfilling the responsibility then he too is not going to lag behind in fulfilling his responsibility as you people have already shown in Japan. I can say this thing due to my experience.

 

I have experienced it recently. Which one? You also know it that all of sudden, the notes of Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000 were declared invalid at 8 pm on the November 8. And I bow down to 1.25 billion fellow countrymen, I salute them. There may be a marriage in the family but currency wasn’t available, mother may not be well, there was a shortage of currency, there were problems. People knew this thing that they were in difficulty, they knew that they were suffering, they knew their neighbors were suffering and despite the provocations by others to say something against me; this is also happening in the country that people were provoked to speak against me but I salute the people of my country that though someone stood in the queue for four hours, for six hours, they faced hardships but they have similarly accepted and welcomed the decision in the interest of the country as every citizen of Japan has shown in 2011. At some places, ATMs suddenly malfunctioned after waiting for four-five hours in the queue, even then people said: no problem, it will start functioning tomorrow. This in itself is a sign of bright future for the country, it’s a sign of brightness. It may be true that the number of people doing wrong things may not be very large. The number could be in the range of a lakh, two lakh or five lakh people but the decision is causing hardships to 1.25 billion people. However, even after facing these difficulties if the 1.25 billion people, and you might have seen this thing, now it must be forwarded on Whatsapp as well that earlier no one used to donate even a coin of 25 paise to river Ganga and now the notes are floating in the river Ganga.

You tell me whether ill-gotten money should be exposed or not? Usually common people complain when the decision benefits some and harm others. Common people feel that the law should accept Rs. 500, Rs. 1,000 notes of everyone. Even thousand rupee notes belonging to Modi will not be acceptable in the market. People appreciate these things. They say that things like this should be done. Everyone is equally affected and that is why even I was not aware that I will be blessed in this manner when I was deliberating about this decision. I had not even thought of what kind of hardships it will cause and what will be its benefits. I was taxing my mind on how to do that and it was such a thing that I could not discuss with people. If it’s not done in a surprising manner then the entire exercise would be futile. Those people who can amass this kind of wealth can also find some way so it was imperative to keep it secret. So I was thinking that these difficulties will be caused, these hardships will be there. So we had a small team that was trying to find ways. However, I had not thought that I will receive the blessings as well. When people came to know that this housewife, every woman when she goes to purchase vegetables then she saves some money, she keeps that with her so that she can give it back when there is a difficult time in the family, when family members run out of the money.  In our country, women save some thing and it is the clean money, it’s not from the ill-gotten money. When we said that if a housewife deposits Rs. 2.5 lakh in a bank account then the government would not question her about the source of the money then do you know what has happened as a result of it? Some sons, and daughters-in-law as well, who have sent their mothers to age old homes, they deposited Rs. 2.5 lakhs in their mothers’ accounts. Now tell me whether that old mother will bless me or not? And if such old mothers bless me could there be any doubt about the success of the scheme?

Brothers and sisters, it’s a big campaign of cleansing. It’s not for harassing anyone. I know that it has caused hardships, I have said even on the day one when I had addressed the nation on the November 8 that it’s such huge country and there is no need to make haste as fifty days have been given. Fifty days have been given and people should go and deposit their honest money into bank accounts and it will reflect in their bank accounts. However, I’m clear that if I get hold of something that has not been accounted for, I’m going to look into accounts since independence to till date. No matter how many people are required to be deputed for this thing, I’d depute them in this thing. If it’s a clean money, honest money, then people will praise them, they will not have any problems. However, if someone has stashed the money and if he today thinks that he will deposit the money in the bank and will tackle the problem later then no one is going to be spared. And some of those people who know me and if they are wise as well then they know that it’s better to throw it in the river Ganga rather than depositing it in the banks. They may, may not get the money but may get the holy reward and that is why I once again going to tell the country, I’m going to tell the people again and again immediately after going back to India that my government will do everything to protect the honest and in any case the dishonest people will be accounted for.

And it’s not like that we did this thing overnight. First we introduced a scheme that: you disclose whatever you can disclose by paying this much penalty. So nearly 67,000 crore rupees were deposited. Even then some people used to say that: Modi would fail. But nothing happened to Modi. And when the last thing came then they stopped speaking.

And nearly 1.25 lakh crore rupees came back into the formal system, almost 1.25 lakh crore rupees due to the various efforts made during the last two years. So we have given the opportunity, it’s not like that no opportunity was given. Even if you feel that you will follow the same way as was the case earlier then it’s not my fault. And that is why those people, they now have time till 30th December. They can do this thing without any difficulty till December 30, however, there will be some hardships if they make haste. Countrymen will not face any problem till December 30, they will get their dues. However, if some people think that after December 30….then I’d like to announce that there is no guarantee that another scheme will not come to tackle them once this scheme gets over.

The world has changed so much, we need to come back into mainstream, it’s okay that whatever you did, you did it earlier; I gave you the opportunity to think about your future. But my dear countrymen when you people are doing India proud by working hard. Your industriousness brings laurels for the country. Wherever in the world I visit, I get to hear very positive things about the Indian community from those countries and it enhances India’s prestige, India’s standing. So it’s very  big contribution of from you.

 

I am happy that I got the opportunity to meet you again. Many many thanks. I want  to assure you that now onwards India would only be marching ahead and scaling new heights of development. The dreams that you dreamed after going into the outer world and the good things that you wanted to see in India, all those good things have now become possible in India. Those things will continue to happen in India. Thank you very much.

 

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