New Delhi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that greed for power overrode national interest during the UPA government, wreaking havoc on the banking sector, but his dispensation has nursed it back to good financial health.
He also said that India is now among the countries with the strongest banking sectors following a series of measures taken by his government.
Addressing a Rozgar Mela after giving appointment letters to over 70,000 recruits virtually, Modi noted that a large number of them have been employed in the banking sector as he highlighted how it was "destroyed" under the previous Congress-led dispensation before his government took corrective measures.
He said that the "phone banking" scam was one of the biggest scams of the previous government as it broke the back of the banking system.
The idea of phone banking was different for that government as loans of thousands of crores of rupees were given to favourites of some powerful leaders and families, and those loans were never meant to be returned, he said.
The UPA was in power during 2004-14.
His government, Modi asserted, took several measures, including strengthening the management of banks, merging small banks and injecting professionalism, to help the sector.
Public sector banks were earlier known for losses running into thousands of crores of rupees and non-performing assets (NPAs), but now they are known for record profits, the prime minister said.
He also praised banking sector employees for their hardwork and commitment to serve people and execute various government schemes to help the poor and unorganised sectors through loans under the 'Mudra' scheme and to support women self-help groups.
Modi said India has emerged as a centre of global trust and attraction and added that the country has to make full use of it. Opportunities are increasing in various fields, he said.
India is now counted among the countries with the strongest banking sector, he said, adding that it was not the case nine years back.
"There are many examples of the destruction which is caused when the greed for power overrides national interest. Our banking sector has suffered this destruction under the previous government," he told the young recruits.
Loans given to favourites were never really repaid during those times and one loan was sanctioned after another to clear previous dues on paper, Modi said.
By laws like the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, banks were protected from NPAs while tough action against those accused of swindling banks, including attachments of their properties, was also taken, he said.
Modi said his government has also insured bank deposits up to Rs 5 lakh, ensuring the safety of more than 99 per cent of account holders.
Addressing the gathering, the prime minister said it is not only a memorable day for the young recruits but also a historic day for the nation as today marks the day when the 'Tiranga' was adopted in its current form by the Constituent Assembly for the first time in 1947.
Noting that the next 25 years are crucial for the recruits and the nation as it charts its path to become a developed country, he highlighted the rise of India from the 10th largest global economy to the 5th largest under his government.
Most experts are of the view that India will become the third biggest economy in a few years and it will be a monumental achievement, he added.
It will give rise to employment opportunities in every sector and also boost the income of the common citizens, Modi said.
He cited a recent NITI Aayog report that said 13 crore Indians were brought above the poverty line in the last five years and lauded the hardwork of government servants in implementing welfare measures such as building pucca houses and toilets, opening Jan Dhan accounts and providing electricity connections to the poor.
"This success shows if we increase the efforts to remove poverty from India, then it can be completely eliminated . And certainly, every government employee has a big role in this,” he said.
Modi said the expansion of the neo-middle class is creating new job opportunities, with their growing demand and aspirations driving the manufacturing sector.
With the percentage of ageing population rising and of working age population declining in many country, the world is looking at India's talent, he said, highlighting new opportunities for its young citizens.
His government has focussed on skill upgradation of the young population, with the number of professional education institutes rising.