Freebies a burden on taxpayers: PM Modi

Country saved Rs 50,000 crore in 8 years thanks to ethanol blending programme

The act of giving away freebies is not in the interest of the nation and will push it back.
The act of giving away freebies is not in the interest of the nation and will push it back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reiterated that poll freebies increase taxpayers’ burden, prevent the country from becoming self-reliant and block investments in new technologies. The act of giving away freebies is not in the interest of the nation and will push it back.

“As a country, we have to take a pledge that we will not allow such tendencies to grow. This is a collective responsibility of the country,” Modi said in his address after dedicating to the nation a modern ethanol plant of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) through video conferencing.

Also Read| Rs 50,000 cr forex saved by blending ethanol with petrol in 7-8 years: PM Modi

“If there is selfishness in politics, then anyone can come and announce to give free petrol and diesel. Such steps will take away the rights of our children, and prevent the country from becoming self-reliant. Due to such selfish policies, the burden on honest taxpayers of the country will also increase. To deal with the challenges that the country is facing, it needs clear intentions and commitment. It requires extreme hard work, policy and huge investments,” Modi said.

“This is not policy, it is immorality. This is not national interest; it is a loss of the nation. This is not nation-building, it is an attempt to push the nation back. To deal with the challenges facing the country, it takes clear intentions, loyalty, policy,” Modi said.

If the government does not have money, then plants like ethanol, biogas and solar plants will also close down, he said. “We have to remember that even though we will not be there, but this nation will always be there, the children living in it will always be there. Those who sacrificed their lives for freedom have also worked with this eternal spirit”, PM said.

Last week, the Supreme Court advised the Union government to form a composite expert committee to examine the pros and cons of freebies given out by governments and ways to curb irrational electoral promises that cost the exchequer dear.

The Panipat ethanol plant has the capacity to produce 100 kilo litres of ethanol a day using parali. With the setting up of the modern plant, farmers of Haryana, where rice and wheat are grown in abundance, will get another lucrative means of using crop residue. Farmers used to burn the paralis in the absence of proper mechanism in place to use them, causing pollution in the adjoining areas.

From just around 1.41%, ethanol blending with petrol has increased to 10.16% now. Modi said, during the last 7-8 years, the country has saved around Rs 50,000 crore from the increased ethanol blending programme and about the same amount has gone to the farmers’ kitty. He said till eight years ago only 40 crore litre ethanol was produced in the country, which has now gone up nearly 10 times.

Compared with just 14 crore LPG connections till 2014, the country has almost reached 100% LPG coverage. Around 31 crore gas connections are there in the country now. The PM also pointed out that the number of CNG stations in the country has increased to more than 4,500 from mere 800 in eight years ago. Gas is reaching through pipes to more than one crore households.

“Today, when we are completing 75 years of independence, the country is also working on the goal that in the next few years, more than 75% of the households in the country will get piped gas,” he said.

Lashing out the Opposition Congress for wearing black dresses in Parliament on August 5 in protest against price rise, the PM said, “those who think that by wearing black clothes, their period of despair will end are unaware that irrespective of the black magic and their belief in superstition, the public’s trust will never be restored in them”.

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