Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent out a stern warning of tough action against the "dishonest" people on Saturday even as he announced a slew of sops for senior citizens, farmers, rural housing, women and small entrepreneurs to soften the blow of demonetisation.
Modi also assured the honest people that the government will act as a friend to them so that their difficulties are eased.
Among the sops announced in his address to the nation at the end of 50-day demonetisation period, Modi said senior citizens will get 8% interest on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years and deposit of Rs 6000 into accounts of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas to meet medical expenses.
For farmers, he announced that banks will not charge interest for 60 days on loans taken from district cooperative central bank and primary societies for rabi crop.
For construction or expansion of a rural house, 3% interest will be waived on loan of upto Rs 2 lakh. Announcing two new schemes under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he said 4% interest subvention on loans upto Rs 9 lakh and 3% on loan upto Rs 12 lakh.
"The law will take its course with full force. The government will help the honest and protect them and see their difficulties are eased. How honest will gain from the government. This government is a friend of good people and wants to build on the good environment for the people to return to goodness," he said.
Acknowledging that "serious offences" have been committed by some bank and government officials taking advantage of situation, he said "they will not be spared".
PM said that there is a need to launch satyagraha against corruption and black money in the country.
Modi said corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India's social fabric, that even honest people were brought to their knees.
"It is historic, that both the people and the government are on the same side in this battle against evil. The Government is well aware, that in this period, you had to queue up, and face difficulty in withdrawing your own money," he said.
Modi said the excess of cash was fuelling inflation and black-marketing.
"It was denying the poor, their due. Lack of cash causes difficulty, but excess of cash is even more troublesome. Our aim is to achieve a balance. When cash is outside the formal economy, it is a cause of worry. When it joins the mainstream, it is an opportunity for development," he said.
The Prime Minister said just 24 lakh people out of 125 crore population declare their annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh.
"Can we digest this? Look at the big bungalows and big cars around you. If we look at any big city, it would have lakhs of people with annual income of more than 10 lakh. Do you not feel, that for the good of the country, this movement for honesty, needs to be further strengthened?," he said.
In an apparent reference to seizure of new bank notes from bank officials and government servants, Modi said it is a bitter truth that people have complaints of bad experiences at the hands of government machinery, and some government officers.
Modi said world over terrorism, naxalism, Maoism, counterfeit currency trade, drug trade, human trafficking depend on black money.
"These evils have become a festering sore on society and Governments. Demonetisation has dealt a severe blow to these trades," he said.
The Prime Minister said so much of the cash in circulation has been deposited in the banking system indicated the success of this mission.
Lauding the efforts of bank employees in dealing with long queues post demonetisation and long hours of work, he acknowledged that some grave crimes by some officers in some banks have come to light.
"Some government officers have also committed serious offences, and tried to take advantage of the situation. They will not be spared," he said. He appealed to the bank flush with currency to move beyond their traditional priorities, and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities.
(With inputs from PTI)