08 Feb 2018 13:26 IST

Modi: NPAs a Cong creation; what about Rafale, asks Rahul

Modi said the previous regime allowed several borrowers' bad loans to be shown as standard loans

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a frontal attack on Wednesday against the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Aliance (UPA) for the bank NPA (non-performing asset) mess.

“This NPA is entirely the creation of your sins. The previous government’s policies are 100 per cent responsible for this mess,” Modi said during his nearly two-hour-long speech in the Lok Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address.

Hitting back at Modi, Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi told reporters: “We wanted to hear the response of the Prime Minister today on the misappropriations in the Rafale deal. The PM spoke for more than an hour, but he did not mention the deal even once. The PM gave a political address and a campaign speech but did not mention a word about pressing issues before the nation, such as unemployment.”

‘Bad loans dressed up’

Modi said that the previous regime had come to the rescue of several borrowers by allowing their bad loans to be restructured and shown as standard loans, thereby hiding the true position of the health of the banking system.

There was a sort of collusion between the bank, the politician and the intermediary, he alleged, and claimed: “Not a single loan that has been given after we came to power has turned into an NPA”.

Modi also claimed that he could have provided the true picture of the banking system to the country immediately after assuming charge, but chose not to do so in the national interest.

“Now, whatever we are paying is the interest on the misdeeds of the previous regime. However, we have strengthened the banking system,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to defend the mega health insurance scheme mentioned in Budget 2018-19, and his government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat programme. “The MPs spoke about Ayushman Bharat and some of them began to compare with USA and Britain. I think every nation has its own context, challenges and nature of working. It will be inappropriate to compare the two.”

Modi adopted similar tone in both Houses of Parliament.

Although the initial part of his speech in the Lok Sabha targeted the Congress for not upholding democratic values, he used remainder of his address to reel out the economic benefits and savings his government had realised for the country during its nearly four-year rule.

Renegotiation of the LNG deal with Qatar, better pricing from Australian gas, and slashing of domestic prices of LED bulbs, were showcased as benefits for the country and the common man. The new 20-year contract for Qatar LNG had saved the country nearly ₹8,000 crore. Also, a reduction in the price of Australian gas had led to a saving of about ₹4,000 crore. Modi said LED bulbs, which were sold at ₹350 earlier, now retails at ₹40.

Taking another jibe at the Congress for questioning India’s improvement in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, Modi said, “I fail to understand why some people feel bad when India improves its ease of business rankings.”