New Delhi, January 01: In a special address on the eve of new year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced two housing schemes, tax incentives for small traders, interest rebate for farmers and monetary assistance for pregnant women.
Modi said under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana 4 per cent interest waiver on housing loan up to 9 lakh rupees and 3 per cent on loan up to 12 lakh rupees will be provided in the urban areas. He announced three percent interest subvention on loan up to 2 lakh rupees for the construction of houses in rural areas.
In a bonanza to farmers post demonetization, the Prime Minister said that the centre will pay interest for 60 days on loan taken by them for rabi season from district cooperative banks and primary societies. He also announced that the 3 crore 'Kisan Credit Cards' would be converted to RuPay Card within three months to help farmers purchase various inputs anywhere.
NABARD will be given an additional 20,000 crore rupees to finance district cooperative banks and societies. Rejecting the allegations that demonetization has hit the crops, the Prime Minister mentioned that the Rabi sowing is up by 6 percent as compared to last year while fertiliser offtake is also up by 9 percent during this period.
In his nearly 45 minutes address, Modi said all pregnant women will get an assistance of 6000 rupees to meet medical expenses. Senior citizens will get 8 per cent interest on deposits of up to 7.5 lakh rupees for 10 years. Prime Minister said banks have also been asked to raise cash credit limit to small business to 25 percent from 20 percent.
Modi said after the demonetization 125 crore people have proved that for them the truth and honesty are important despite inconveniences. He said the decision has laid the foundation for a bright future of the country as it caused deep infliction on black money, terror funding, human traffickers and counterfeit currency.
Meanwhile, BJP has hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the welfare measures and called them great step towards opening the avenues for the weaker sections of the country. BJP President Amit Shah said the Prime Minister opened up avenues for poor, farmers and youth of the country after the record availability of money in the banks since Independence following the demonetization.
However, the opposition attacked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he failed to show sensitivity towards people's pain due to demonetization in his address to the nation.
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wondered that why the Prime Minister did not mention how many lakhs of crores of black money and fake currencies the government managed to wipe out through demonetization in the last 50 days. He said Mr Modi is not sensitive to people's pain as no relief from financial restrictions was announced despite widespread expectation.
The Left parties charged the Prime Minister with delivering a budget speech in view of forthcoming assembly polls. Party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mr Modi did not announce any compensation for daily wage earners, fishermen, agricultural workers who were hit hard by demonetization.
Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also welcomed the announcements. In a tweet, Mr Naidu thanked Mr Modi for reducing the interest rate on housing. He said it is a big boost to housing sector and big boon to the poor and middle class.