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Financial Inclusion, Consensus Approach Part Of Modi Roadmap

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Friday (15 AUgust) that he would like to run the country on the basis of consensus and not on majority in Parliament and called for a 10-year moratorium on caste and communal violence.

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of historic Red Fort for the first time, he also asked the misguided youth who have taken to terrorism and naxalism to shed their guns and adopt the path of peace and development.

Less than three months after taking over as Prime Minister, Modi unveiled a roadmap for his government, announcing a financial inclusion scheme for the poor to open bank account with built-in insurance, development of model villages by MPs and launching of a scheme for elimination of open defecation.

He asked the corporates to work with the government as part of their social responsibility to install toilets, including separate ones for girl students, in all schools by next Independence Day.

In his 65-minute extempore speech in Hindi without any bullet-proof shield, he also announced that the Planning Commission, a socialist-era vestige, would be soon replaced with a new institution keeping in view the economic changes internally and globally.

Asserting that he was speaking not as the Prime Minister but as "prime servant", Modi made a special mention of the services rendered by his predecessors and former governments for the country's development.

Seeking the cooperation of all political parties and pledging to take their help, he referred to the Parliament session that concluded yesterday, saying "it was a reflection of our thinking and intention to move forward not on the basis of majority but on the basis of strong foundation of consensus.

"You must have seen that by taking all parties, including opposition, along we achieved unprecedented success. The credit for it does not go just to the Prime Minister or the government but also to opposition, its leaders and each of its MPs. I salute all MPs and leaders of parties with whose help we ended this first session with success."

In an apparent reference to recent incidents in some parts of the country, the Prime Minister said communalism and castism are an obstacle in the country's progress.

"We see violence on the basis of religion and caste. How long? Who is benefiting? We have fought enough, killed enough.

If you look back, you will find that nobody has gained anything.... It took us to even partition.

"I appeal that for the sake of country's progress, there should be a 10-year moratorium on violence, at least for once, so that we are free from these ills. We should have peace, unity and harmony. Please believe my word, if we give up the path of violence and adopt the path of brotherhood, we will make progress," he said.

Referring to terrorism and naxalism, Modi again wondered how long the violence would continue. "You will get nothing," he told the misguided youth.

He cited the example of Nepal where Maoists have shunned the path of violence after a decade-long armed struggle and joined the political mainstream and nation-building.

"They (maoists) have given up arms and are now waiting for a new Constitution. It is an example of inspiration for the misguided youth.. It is high time that misguided youth renounce violence and take the path of peace," said Modi who recently visited Nepal. .

Disbanding Planning Commission
The government has decided to abolish the Planning Commission, a 64-year old apex policy making body, and replace it with a new institution to address the emerging economic needs and strengthen federal structure.

"We will very soon set up a new institution in place of Planning Commission," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day address to the nation today.

The Planning Commission, he said, was set up to cater to the needs of earlier times and has participated in its own way in the development of the country.

However, Modi said, "the internal situation of the country has changed, global environment has changed... If we have to take India forward, then states will have to be taken forward. The importance of federal structure is more today than it was in last 60 years".

He further said there is a need to have a relook at the structure of the Planning Commission and give it a new shape.

"Sometime it becomes necessary to repair a house. It costs a lot of money. But it does not give us satisfaction. Then we feel it is better to make a new house," he said.

"We need an institution of creative thinking and for optimum utilisation of youth capability," he said, asserting the country has to push Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and strengthen federalism.

The Planning Commission was set up in March 1950 by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living of the people by efficient exploitation of the resources of the country, increasing production and offering opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community.

Welcoming the decision, former Planning Commission member Bimal Jalan said: "It is very good idea. Planning has become outdated concept now. There is a need to modernise it. We have to see the blueprint of the new concept. But change was very much required".

Jan Dhan Scheme To Promote Financil Inclusion: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana' to help the poor open bank accounts which will come with the facility of a debit card and an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.

"We want to integrate the poorest of the poor with bank accounts with Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana," he said in his maiden Independence Day address to the nation.

Observing that people have mobile phones but not bank accounts, Modi said, the scheme will help in bringing the benefits of formal banking system to them.

"Today there are crores of families which have mobile phones but no bank accounts. We have to change this. The economic development must benefit poor and it should start from here," he said.

Under the Jan Dhan Yojana, he said, "the person who will open bank account will get a debit card and the family will get Rs 1 lakh insurance cover. This will help the family to tide over the unforeseen eventuality."

The Union Cabinet has already cleared the two-phase financial inclusion scheme under which bank accounts will be opened for 15 crore poor persons with an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 and accident insurance of Rs 1 lakh.

The scheme, to be pushed by the government in a mission mode, seeks to provide two accounts to 7.5 crore identified households by August 2018.