New Delhi– The government’s schemes for financial inclusion and to encourage small enterprise are attempts to free the common man from the clutches of moneylenders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

“Small traders, businessmen, the vegetable vendor, milkman, barber…used to be all so completely in the grip of usurious moneylenders,” Modi said in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ address on the occasion of Diwali.

“Schemes like Mudra, Stand up India, Jan Dhan bank accounts are all ways for us to be rid of the evil of usury,” he added.

“Through direct benefit transfer (DBT) of subsidy, and using the Aadhaar (unique ID), money is paid into the account of beneficiaries. For the common man, these schemes are a way of getting free from the clutches of middlemen,” he added.

Modi also praised the Haryana government’s initiative to make the state kerosene-free, saying that often subsidies are continued even when not needed only to the benefit of middlemen.

“Homes in our country which have cooking gas, electricity, don’t need kerosene, but the subsidy continues. But who questions all this in government as kerosene, gas, electricity are all being supplied simultaneously, which is only an opportunity for middlemen to profit,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Haryana government, after verifying against the Aadhar number those families’ gas, electricity connections, has managed to make 7-8 districts kerosene-free and soon the whole state will become kerosene-free,” Modi said.

“This will be a major change. Corruption and leakage will be checked, the environment will benefit and precious foreign exchange saved. The only ones who will be hit are middlemen,” he added. (IANS)