New Delhi, Aug 15 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reached out to honest taxpayers saying it is their taxes that fund the government programmes for the poor and "these good deeds will earn them 'punya'".
Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on the 72nd Republic Day, Modi said the country was witnessing "a festival of honesty".
He said the number of direct tax payers had nearly doubled and the number of those paying indirect tax had gone up from 70 lakh to 1.16 crore in one year of GST implementation.
The salaried middle class was among those considered honest tax payers and Modi's mention of them in the Independence Day address is being seen as a ploy to reach out to them ahead of the Assembly polls later in 2018 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The middle class in India is estimated to be over 300 million.
Bowing to the honest tax payer, Modi credited them for the government's programmes and added: "I want to touch their heart. The programmes that are run, the credit for it goes to the tax payer, not to the government."
He said when an honest tax payer sits to eat, three poor families also get food due to the taxes paid by him and he earns "punya".