Releases commemorative coin to mark 90 years of RBI
“RBI plays a pivotal role in advancing our nation's growth trajectory”
“RBI has witnessed both the pre and post-independence eras and has created an identity around the world based on its professionalism and commitment”
“Today we have reached a point where the Indian banking system is being seen as a strong and sustainable banking system of the world”
“Government has worked on the strategy of recognition, resolution and recapitalization”
“Steps like active price monitoring and fiscal consolidation kept inflation at a moderate level even during difficult times of Corona”
“Today, India is becoming the engine of global growth with 15 percent share in global GDP growth”
“RBI is the appropriate body for the holistic appreciation of the banking vision of Viksit Bharat”

Governor of Maharashtra Shri Ramesh Bais ji, Chief Minister Shri Eknath Shinde ji, my colleagues in the cabinet Nirmala Sitharaman ji, Bhagwat Karad ji and Pankaj Chaudhary ji, Deputy Chief Ministers of Maharashtra Government Devendra (Fadnavis) ji and Ajit (Pawar) ji, Governor of Reserve Bank Shaktikanta Das, officers of Reserve Bank of India, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, the Reserve Bank of India has reached a historic milestone. RBI has completed its 90 years. As an institution, RBI has been a witness to both pre-independence and post-independence eras. Today, RBI's recognition worldwide is attributed to its professionalism and commitment. I extend my congratulations to all the employees and officers of the Reserve Bank of India on the 90 years since its establishment.

Furthermore, I consider those who are associated with RBI at this time to be very fortunate. The policies you formulate today, the work you do, will determine the direction of RBI for the next decade. This decade will take this institution to its centenary year. And this decade is equally crucial for the ‘Sankalp Yatra’ of a ‘Viksit Bharat’. And for that, as your mantra suggests - while giving top priority to RBI's rapid growth, it is equally important to focus on trust and stability. I extend best wishes to RBI for its objectives and resolutions as well

Friends,

You are experts in your respective fields. You know that the country's economy and GDP largely depends on the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies. I remember when I participated in the Reserve Bank's '80th' year program in 2014, the situation was entirely different. The entire banking sector of Bharat was grappling with problems and challenges. Concerns about the stability of Bharat’s banking system and its future were widespread, especially regarding non-performing assets (NPAs). The situation was so dire that public sector banks were not able to contribute significantly to the country's economic progress. We all started from there. And look, today Bharat’s banking system is considered a strong and sustainable system in the world. The banking system, which was once on the verge of sinking, is now making profits and showing record growth in credit.

Friends,

You also know that such a significant change in just 10 years was not easy. This change came because there was clarity in our policies, intentions, and decisions. This change came because there was determination and honesty in our efforts. Today, the country is witnessing that when intentions are right, policies are also right. When policies are right, decisions are also right. And when decisions are right, the results are also right. In short, what I want to say is - when intentions are right, results are right.

How the country's banking system transformed is in itself a subject of study. There wasn't any stone left unturned. Our government worked on the policy of 'recognition', 'resolution', and 'recapitalization'. To improve the condition of public sector banks, the government infused nearly 3.5 lakh crore rupees of capital and implemented several governance-related reforms. The new framework of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code alone resolved close to 3.25 lakh crore rupees worth of loans.

And one figure that the citizens must know is that more than 27,000 applications, with underlying defaults of over 9 lakh crore rupees, were resolved even before admission into the IBC. This demonstrates the effectiveness of this new system. The gross NPA of banks, which was around 11% in 2018, has decreased to less than 3% by September 2023.

Today, the problem of the Twin Balance Sheet is now a part of the past. Today, banks' credit growth has reached up to 15 per cent. In all these achievements, the RBI has played a significant role as a partner and its efforts are commendable.

Friends,

Discussion about institutions like the RBI often remains confined to financial definitions and complex terminologies. It's natural given the intricacies of your work. However, the work you do directly impacts the lives of ordinary citizens. Over the past 10 years, we have highlighted this connection between the central bank, the banking system, and the common person at the grassroots level. Financial inclusion for the poor is a significant example today. We have 52 crore Jan Dhan accounts in the country, with over 55% of these accounts held in the name of women. The impact of this financial inclusion can also be seen in sectors like agriculture and fisheries.

Today, more than 7 crore farmers, fishermen, and livestock owners have farmer credit cards. This has given a significant boost to our rural economy. The cooperative sector has also received a major boost in the past 10 years. Cooperatives play a crucial role in the cooperative banking sector, which is also an important area of regulation and supervision for the Reserve Bank. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has now become a globally recognized platform. It processes more than 1200 crore transactions every month.

Now you are also working on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). This is also a snapshot of the transformation that has taken place in the last 10 years. Within a decade, we have entered into a completely new banking system, a new economy, and a new currency experience. And as I mentioned earlier, what has happened in the last 10 years is just the trailer. There is still much to do, we have to take the country much further ahead.

Friends,

It is crucial that we have clear goals for the next 10 years. We need to work together to expand the possibilities of digital transactions in the next decade. We also need to keep an eye on the changes coming from the shift towards a cashless economy. We must also strive to improve financial inclusion and empowerment efforts further.

Friends,

The banking needs of such a large population can indeed vary widely. Some people prefer the traditional physical branch model, while others prefer digital delivery. It is essential to formulate policies that improve the ease of banking and provide credit access according to everyone's needs. To make Bharat a leader in the field of Digital Payments Infrastructure (DPI), we need to continuously leverage Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The Reserve Bank must continue to take consistent steps for Bharat’s progress to be rapid, inclusive, and sustainable. As a regulator, the RBI has ensured rule-based discipline and financially prudent practices in the banking sector.

 However, it is also essential for the RBI to anticipate the future needs of various sectors, prepare in advance, and encourage banks to take proactive steps while assessing their requirements. I assure you that the government stands with you. You may recall that dealing with double-digit inflation was not reflected in financial policies ten years ago. To address this challenge, our government entrusted the Reserve Bank of India with the authority of inflation targeting. The Monetary Policy Committee has done an excellent job in fulfilling this mandate. Additionally, the government has taken steps such as active price monitoring and fiscal consolidation. Therefore, despite the COVID crisis, situations of war in different countries, and tensions, inflation in Bharat has remained at a moderate level.

Friends,

A country with clear priorities cannot be stopped from progressing. During the COVID crisis, we prioritized financial prudence while also giving top priority to the lives of ordinary citizens. That's why Bharat’s poor and middle class are now driving the economy forward despite the crisis. While many of the world's largest economies are still struggling to recover from the shock, the Indian economy is setting new records. The RBI can take Bharat’s success to the global level.

Balancing inflation control and growth is a unique challenge for any developing country. It is essential to think about which monetary tools can be used to address this challenge. The RBI can play a global leadership role by serving as a model for this approach. I say this based on ten years of experience, and after closely observing and understanding the world. This could greatly benefit the entire Global South.

Friends,

While setting targets for the next 10 years, we must also consider the aspirations of Bharat’s youth. Bharat is one of the youngest countries in the world today. RBI has a vital role in fulfilling the youth’s aspirations. Over the past 10 years, new sectors have emerged due to government policies, providing new opportunities for the country's youth. We can see expansion in emerging sectors such as green energy today.

The government is promoting sectors like solar energy and green hydrogen. There's been consistent growth in ethanol blending in the country. Bharat has emerged as a prime player in digital technology, and efforts have been made towards indigenous 5G technology. Additionally, we are playing a significant role as a defence sector exporter.

MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy and the manufacturing sector. All these sectors require different types of financing, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs provided a significant boost to this sector. The Reserve Bank also needs to think about out-of-the-box policies going forward. And I have seen that our Shaktikanta ji is an expert in thinking out of the box. And I am happy that most applause was reserved for this statement. It is very important to ensure that our youth get adequate credit availability, especially in new sectors.

Friends,

Innovation will play an important role in the 21st century. The government is making record investments in innovation. As you have seen we have allocated a research fund of 1 lakh crore rupees for innovation in the recent interim budget. It is essential to think about how we can prepare those who want to work in the field of cutting-edge technology, considering the proposals that come in. RBI should also start thinking about how it will assist them. We need to identify such individuals and create teams. We should develop expertise in both traditional businesses and upcoming subjects.

Similarly, the space sector is opening up, with new start-ups emerging. We need to see what kind of support they need for credit. Similarly, one of the largest sectors emerging in Bharat with full force is the tourism sector. The tourism sector is growing, and the whole world wants to come to Bharat, see Bharat, and understand Bharat. I read somewhere that tourism experts have said that in the coming years, Ayodhya will become the world's largest capital in religious tourism. We need to see our preparations to financially support this sector. As new sectors emerge in the country, we need to develop expertise in them from now on and brainstorm on how we will support them.

I am busy with elections for the next 100 days, so you have plenty of time to think, because there will be a lot of work to do right from the second day after taking the oath.

Friends,

We have done a lot of work on financial inclusion and digital payments. As a result, the financial capacity of our small businesses and street vendors is now transparently visible. Now, using this information, we need to financially empower them.

Friends,

We need to work together to further enhance Bharat’s economic self-reliance over the next 10 years. We should ensure that our economy is least affected by global crises. Today, Bharat is becoming an engine of global growth with a 15 per cent share in global GDP growth. In these circumstances, efforts should be made to make our currency more accessible and acceptable worldwide.

Another trend that has been observed globally in recent years is excessive economic expansion and increasing debt. The private sector debt of many countries has reached up to double their GDP. The debt level of several countries not only affects those countries but also impacts the entire global economy. The Reserve Bank should conduct a study on this matter.

Considering the prospects and potential of Bharat’s growth, it is essential to determine how much credit availability should be there and how it should be managed sustainably in a modern context.

Friends,

It will be equally important for our banking industry to advance in order to fund essential projects for the country. Amidst this necessity, there are also challenges on many fronts today. New technologies like AI and BlockChain have transformed banking methods, changing the entire approach. The role of cyber security has become crucial in the rising era of digital banking. Innovations in fintech are creating new avenues for banking. In such circumstances, we need to think about the necessary changes in the structure of the country's banking sector. This may require new financing, operating, and business models. From the credit needs of global champions to the requirements of street vendors, from cutting-edge sectors to traditional sectors, fulfilling these needs is crucial for the ‘Viksit Bharat’.

The Reserve Bank is a very appropriate institution for this entire study of the banking vision for a ‘Viksit Bharat’. Your efforts will be crucial for the development of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.

Once again, my best wishes to all of you.

Thank you!

 

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PM Modi's interview to News X
May 21, 2024

In an interview to News X, Prime Minister Modi addressed the issue of toxic language in elections, explained why the Opposition frequently discussed him, and shared his views on job creation. He criticized the Congress' tax plans and appeasement politics.

Rishabh Gulati: A very warm welcome to the viewers of NewsX and India News. I’m Rishabh Gulati and with me is Aishwarya Sharma of The Sunday Guardian and Rana Yashwant. In today’s special episode, we proudly welcome a renowned ‘rashtra sevak’, and the Prime Minister of India in this Amrit Kaal, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi. Mr Prime Minister, you took the time to speak to us, we are very grateful.

Prime Minister: Namaskar, my warm greetings to all your viewers.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, the first question that comes to mind is about the Opposition, and it seems that the biggest item on their poll agenda is Narendra Modi. Why, in your opinion, do they talk so much about Narendra Modi?

Prime Minister: To understand why they discuss Narendra Modi, we must first understand the Opposition. To understand them, one can examine the administration between 2004 and 2014.

The Opposition has not been able to play a strong role. Even as the Opposition, the way they are falling apart, they did not play a constructive role of any kind. Despite deep discussions, they haven’t been able to bring serious issues to the public attention. They thought that by their antics, taking up space in the media, they would be able to keep their boat afloat. Even in this election, I have seen that they make fresh attempts every day to acquire media space, be it by making videos, nonsensical statements, or behaving in a way that people don’t normally behave. So they do this to acquire space in the media. Now abusing Modi is one such antic, where, if nothing else, they are guaranteed publicity. Even a small-time politician, if he bad-mouths me, will get about an hour of media attention. Perhaps they see Modi as a ladder to climb up in their political career.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, the I.N.D.I. alliance is talking about wealth redistribution. Do you think this is possible, and will the voters of the country be influenced by such a scheme?

Prime Minister: You can’t examine this in isolation. You must look at their overall thought process. When their (Congress) manifesto was released, I had said the manifesto had the imprint of the Muslim League. There was a statement made by Dr Manmohan Singh… I had attended the meeting in which he said that ‘Muslims have the first right to India’s resources.’ Now when I raised this in public, their media ecosystem raised a storm saying that ‘Modi is lying,’. So two days later, I brought Manmohan Singh’s press conference forward and put it in front of them. Then they stopped talking. So this was one example. Now in their Manifesto, they have said that they will give reservation (to Muslims) even when allotting government contracts.

So today, when a bridge is to be built somewhere, what is the criteria for awarding the contract? The company bidding is evaluated based on how resourceful they are, their experience, their capability, their ability to deliver on time, all these things. Now they say that they want to give reservations to the minorities, to the Muslims, in this process as well. It all adds up. Now when they say that they will impose inheritance tax, it means that taxes that go to the government, who will stand to benefit from it? It’s the same people that Manmohan Singh ji talked about. If you join the dots, this is the logic that comes from it. How will the country accept this? Secondly, has any developing country in the world indulged in such madness? Today, India needs to work hard to rise above its problems. We have made this attempt and pulled 25 crore people out of poverty. Where there used to be a few hundred start-ups, there are now over 1.25 lakh start-ups, and there are Unicorns. You must go among the people and work with energy, and that will bring the right result.

 

Rana Yashwant: Mr Prime Minister, the Ram Mandir has been built in Ayodhya, the consecration of Ram Lalla took place and there was joy among the people. In all this, there is Iqbal Ansari, who has fought the legal battle, and is an important person. He comes, holding a placard that says ‘Modi ka Parivaar’. Today, the minority community identifies with your policies and welfare schemes. Your opinion?

Prime Minister: Since you’ve brought up Ram Mandir and Iqbal Ansari, I will narrate an incident. Ram Mandir should have been built right after Independence. In all these years, it wasn’t built because they (Congress) felt it would affect their vote bank. Attempts were made in the Courts till the very end to stop it. It is a fact that Congress hindered the building of the Ram Mandir. Despite this, when the Supreme Court judgment came through, the Court constituted a trust, and the trust members, let go of all past differences and went to invite the Congress Party members to the consecration ceremony. They rejected the invitation. The same people went to invite Iqbal Ansari. The ironic thing is, that Iqbal Ansari, who fought the Babri Masjid case his entire life, respected the Supreme Court’s verdict and attended the ‘Shilanyas’ and the ‘Pran Prathistha’ ceremony as well. This is what I think, as far as Iqbal Ansari is concerned.

Now if you want to talk about secularism, it is my very serious allegation, that for over 75 years, through a very well-crafted conspiracy, a false narrative has been fed to the nation. It has been embedded in the nation from before our birth. Sardar Patel was targeted by this narrative, and maybe, today it may be my turn, tomorrow someone else… Why do they cry out ‘secularism’ over and over again? It’s because they want to divert the world’s attention from their communal activities.

They cry ‘thief’ over and over when they have defrauded the people, and they do this because they think crying ‘thief’ will divert the public’s attention. This is their ploy. I have called them out in front of everyone, that they are the ones who are communal. India’s constitution does not allow you to indulge in such sectarian acts, and I have brought out several such examples, like I mentioned earlier that they called the Muslims the rightful inheritors of India’s wealth. I am exposing them. They (Congress) hide behind their politics of appeasement and instead accuse me of being communal. I am talking about those communal parties that wear the ‘nikab’ of secularism and indulge in hardcore communalism. I find three things common among these people. They are hardcore sectarians, they are extremely casteist, and they are hardcore dynasts. They are so full of these three things that they can’t come out of it.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have spoken about lifting 25 crore people out of poverty. 80 crore poor people are receiving ration – it is necessary now and will be so in the future as well. What do you have to say about how crucial it will be in the future?

Prime Minister: When Manmohan Singh ji was the Prime Minister, news was rife with reports of food grains getting spoilt. So, the Supreme Court asked the government as to why the grains were not being distributed among the poor. Manmohan Singh ji, who was the Prime Minister then, stated on record that they could not distribute the grains and that it was impossible to do it. That is the consequence of his thinking. I faced the same issue, especially during COVID-19. My first goal was to ensure that a stove should be lit in every poor household. So, I started working on it. I have stated this for the next five years as well because in the lives of those who come out of poverty…

For example, one returns home from the hospital. The treatment has been done but precaution is necessary. A doctor advises you to take rest for a particular duration after returning home, tells you what to eat and what to refrain from consuming, and what to take care of. Why? The illness has already been addressed, but if anything is jeopardized then the condition of the person would return to what it was. That is why poor people who escape poverty need handholding. They should not return to that state in any condition. Once they escape poverty, they should be empowered to stand strong. In my understanding, in the next five years, those who have escaped poverty should be able to firmly stand on their feet. Any unfortunate incident in their family, should not push them to poverty again. And only then will the country eradicate poverty.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, our country is the youngest country. Under your tenure, 10 lakh government jobs have been filled. Now, the Opposition has vowed to fill 30 lakh government jobs. In your third term, how do you plan to boost employment opportunities for the youth?

Prime Minister: You must have read the SKOCH report that was released. I hope your TV channel studies the SKOCH report in detail and conducts a TV debate on this. They have analysed some 20 to 22 schemes of the government. They have published statistics about how many person-year-hours have been obtained. They have revealed how many hours it takes to build 4 crore houses and how many people it employs. They have published data for about 22 different parameters.

They have stated that 50 crore people have accrued benefits. Secondly, we brought the Mudra Yojana. We give bank loans without any guarantee. We have disbursed loans worth Rs 23 Lakh Crore. 80% of those who have received these loans are first-timers. Some have started their businesses and have employed a few people in this process. Start-ups used to be in the thousands and now they are in lakhs. People have been employed in this process, right? Consider that a 1000-kilometre road is being built and think about how many jobs are created. So, if a 2000-kilometre road is being built more people will be employed, right? Today, road and rail construction has doubled, electrification has doubled, and mobile towers are reaching every corner of India. All this is being created by people who have received jobs. That is why a lie is being peddled.

 What’s important is that we must move towards creating jobs for ourselves. The youth in this country are in the mood to do something and be productive and we must help them. We must encourage them. Our Mudra Yojana does exactly that. We also run the SVANidhi scheme. There are countless street hawkers, who are poor people. But today, they are taking money from the bank to run their businesses. Due to this, they can save money and expand their business. Earlier, a street hawker would sit on the footpath and now his goal is to buy a lorry. One who would owned a lorry earlier now wishes to provide home delivery services. Their aspirations are rising. This is why I believe that while people receive the benefits of government schemes, which will eventually result in development, we must also focus on several other areas.

 

Rana Yashwant: Prime Minister, your government works on the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Beneficiaries avail welfare schemes without any discrimination – caste, religion, or community. Yet, the Opposition maintains that Muslims do not accrue the same benefits from these welfare schemes.

Prime Minister: You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. The unique aspect of my government, in terms of delivering welfare schemes, has not raised any questions regarding discrimination.

 

Rana Yashwant: The Opposition has to say this.

Prime Minister: Even the Opposition does not say this. You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. I have never heard this from anybody because everyone knows… and Muslims themselves say that they receive all benefits.

The primary reason is that I have two principles. First, 100% saturation. For example, if poor people must be given houses, complete delivery must take place. If 100% delivery is the goal, then where does the scope of discrimination even arise? Whether it is providing gas connections, building toilets, ensuring tap water connections, I believe in 100% delivery. Yes, some people will receive the benefits in January, some in April and some in November, but the scheme will apply to all and 100%. I believe that true secularism is when 100% delivery is done. Social justice is when 100% is done. So, if my mission is 100% saturation… and nobody has made this charge yet. They don’t have the courage to say it. I have lived in Gujarat as well, and on this topic, nobody can prop up any charges against me.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have taken out time to sit with us and relay your ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Thank you so much. Best of luck for the polls ahead.

Prime Minister: I thank you all. I have been campaigning day and night…

 

Rana Yashwant: You are constantly on the move. We see you morning until night on the run…

Rishabh Gulati: Today, you had a big rally at 8 in the morning.

Prime Minister: I started my day at 6 am and went to Jagannath Puri temple to offer my prayers. Since then I have been traveling and have at last got time to meet you.

 

Rana Yashwant: Where ever you go, Jagannath or Kashi, there is a sea of people that comes to greet you. You have experienced it yourself.

Prime Minister: I realise that my responsibilities are now increasing. I also see that the public has taken ownership of elections. Political parties are not fighting the elections. The public has taken ownership of this election. And the results will be as desired by the public.

Thank you!