New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that information technology has replaced the ‘Inspector Raj’ under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), as he termed the first year of the indirect tax regime as a “victory of integrity, celebration of honesty and a symbol of cooperative federalism”.
In the 45th edition of his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’, he credited states with “successful” implementation of the ‘One nation, one tax’ reform, saying people of different ideologies have taken part in its 27 meetings but its decisions have been unanimous.
In his address, Modi took a veiled dig at the opposition while referring to his “greatest satisfaction” at seeing people transform their lives through the video bridge programmes in which he interacted with beneficiaries of government schemes.
“There are certain people in society, who find no solace till they do not express their frustrated views, their depressed views and seek ways to divide rather than unite. In such an environment, when the common man comes to you talking about emerging hope, new zeal and events that have taken place in his life, it is not to the government’s credit,” he said.
Modi also credited Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee with laying a strong foundation for country’s industrial development in his capacity as Independent India’s first Industry Minister.
The Prime Minister also invoked Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak to derive home the message of social harmony and brotherhood.
Pointing out that 2019 would mark the 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Modi urged his followers to think about ways in which this historic occasion should be celebrated.
“Guru Nanak Dev wanted to end caste discrimination in society and to embrace entire mankind as one. He used to say that to serve the poor and the needy was to serve God,” he said.
Recalling the sacrifice made by freedom fighters at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, he said: “We must also remember the everlasting message that this incident has imparted, that is, violence and cruelty can never solve any problem. It is peace and non-violence, renunciation and martyrdom that are triumphant in the end!”
On GST, Modi said that although it was estimated that in a country as vast as India, it would take five to seven years for the “world’s biggest tax reform” to get streamlined but it has stabilised in just a year, and under it Information Technology had replaced ‘Inspector Raj’ as everything from return-to-refund was being done online with little manual interference.
Modi said he had interacted with 40-50 lakh people, including farmers and beneficiaries of government schemes through his video bridge programmes, and that it imparted him with new strength.
He said an incident regarding a small girl from a remote village too can inspire the 125 crore people.
“With the help of technology, through the video bridge even a single moment spent with the beneficiaries was very enjoyable, very motivational and provided satisfaction to work more. There is a renewed joy in dedicating your life for the upliftment, and you’re left with renewed fervour and inspiration.”
Modi greeted doctors on Doctors Day on July 1 and recalled efforts of corporate professionals and IT engineeers in Bangalore in creating ‘Samridhi Trust’ through which they had doubled income of farmers.
Recalling India-Afghanistan cricket match in Bengaluru earlier this month, Modi said: “I will cherish the match for a special reason. The Indian team, while receiving the trophy, invited the Afghanistan team to pose together for photographs. This incident exemplifies the very spirit of sportsmanship.”
Referring to the International Yoga Day celebrations on June 21, Modi hoped more and more people will come forward to make the practice a part of their lives.
He said the event presented some of “the rarest of sights” as hundreds in the European Parliament in Brussels, in the UN headquarters in New York and on the Japanese naval warships practiced yoga ‘asanas’.
He said country’s soldiers performed yoga in submarines, snow-clad mountains and even in the air, some 15,000 feet above the ground.