Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the government has introduced several schemes for the welfare of the middle class but also stressed the fact that the country needs to change its perception towards this class. During an interview with news agency ANI, the Prime Minister appreciated the middle-class people for making an immense contribution towards the progress of the country. "The middle class is the only section in the society that bothers about the poorest section and wants maximum benefits to be given to such people. So as a country, it is our not only our responsibility but it is the national duty to uplift the middle class," said the PM.
He clarified that he was not saying this because the middle class was the BJP's biggest vote bank but because it was in the national interest.
The prime minister also said that his government's policies had benefitted the middle class. He explained: "Let's take inflation. You know what it was then....check newspaper cuttings of reports before 2014, you will come to know that we have brought down inflation from 18 per cent to 2-3 per cent. If there's any section that has benefitted the most from this, is middle class."
He said that if inflation is controlled, the maximum benefit goes to the middle class. "Because a middle-class person does not indulge in any fraud, he will not abandon his particular lifestyle. He has to bear a lot. We have worked toward helping the middle class on that front," he said.
Talking about other social schemes launched for the middle-class section, PM Modi said he had tried to address the aspirations of the middle class through programmes like Mudra Yojana, Udan and Ayushman Bharat. "We increased medical seats in several government colleges, we launched Udan, which made it possible for the middle-class people to fly for just Rs 2,500 -- all this has benefited the middle class." Elaborating further, PM Modi said the number of those travelling in the AC coach in railways is now less than those travelling in aeroplanes. "Who are these people? The middle class."
He said the government has done everything possible to fulfil the aspirations of the middle class. "Let's take Ayushman Bharat. Though it seems the scheme only benefits the poor by giving them Rs 5 lakh insurance in case of any disease, the scheme has also led to the opening of several hospitals and thousands of people will get jobs in these hospitals. Now consider the Mudra scheme. Over 15 crore loans have been disbursed under the Mudra loan scheme alone."
Edited by Manoj Sharma