DWARKA : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Diwali had come early because of the relaxation in GST rules that brought some relief to small and medium businesses.
Modi sounded the poll bugle for the assembly elections to be conducted later this year in Gujarat by addressing a gathering in the temple town of Dwarka after laying the foundation stone for a four-lane signature bridge costing Rs 900 crore linking Dwarka with the island religious tourist centre of Bet Dwarka.
"Today, everywhere it is being said that Diwali has come 15 days ahead due to the decisions taken in the GST Council (on Friday). I am happy," he said at the beginning of his two-day Gujarat visit.
Modi said the decision to relax the GST provisions for small traders, businessmen and exporters was in keeping with the Centre's promise to review the working of the new tax regime from time-to-time.
"We had said we will study all aspects relating to GST for three months, including the shortcomings. And thus, the decisions were taken with consensus at the GST Council," he said.
Accusing the previous UPA government at the centre of stalling development projects in Gujarat, Modi recalled the difficulties the state faced when the Congress ruled the country and he was the state Chief Minister.
"Despite my best efforts, I could not make them (UPA government) to wake up from their slumber," said the Prime Minister.
Modi stressed that his government would continue giving priority to development by enhancing connectivity and took a dig at his critics, especially in the wake of a viral social media campaign "Development has gone crazy", targeting his government.
Modi said development would continue to be the driving force of his initiatives.
"This generation may have suffered poverty but we would take development to such heights that future generations do not get to see poverty. The world's attention is being drawn to India. People are coming to invest here. All this will bring opportunities for the people of India."
He also announced the setting up of the country's first and biggest Marine Police training institute at Mojak in Devbhoomi Dwarka district of the state.
"I would like to give a gift to the people of Gujarat that will benefit the entire country. For security of coastal area, we are working to modernise Marine Police (who look after coastal security till 5 km from the shore).
"To help train policemen from across the country, a Marine Police training and research institute will be set up near Mojak," Modi said.
During his two-day trip, Modi is expected to address as many as six public meetings, launching various schemes and projects at five places in three regions of the poll-bound state.
On Sunday, Modi will visit his hometown Vadnagar in North Gujarat to inaugurate a Rs 500-crore civil hospital and a medical college.
He is also scheduled to dedicate the redeveloped Sharmistha Lake to the people and inaugurate other public works, including the facelift of the Vadnagar railway station, where he is once said to have sold tea as a school boy.