New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday reiterated his government’s ambitious Rs 100 lakh crore roadmap for developing modern infrastructure, saying it will help India’s economy grow to $5 trillion by 2024.
Investing Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure by 2024 was one of the key promises made in the BJP’s manifesto for the 2019 general elections, which the party won with a stunning majority.
“Today, according to the needs of the 21st century, modern infrastructure is being set up,” Modi said in his Independence Day speech, “We have decided to invest Rs 100 lakh crore in the country’s infrastructure.”
Delivering his sixth Independence Day speech as Prime Minister, which ran into 92 minutes, Modi noted how the common Indian’s aspirations had risen.
“Earlier, even if a decision was taken on paper that a railway station will be built in an area, there used to be positivity among people for years,” Modi said. “Time has changed now, people aren’t satisfied with a station, they immediately ask, when will Vande Bharat express come in our area?”
Launched this year, Vande Bharat Express has been pitched as India’s fastest train.
The PM said Indians were anticipating development with such eagerness now that “if we provide a railway station, they ask when will we have an airport”.
“If we install an electricity tower, they ask when will we have 24-hour power?… Earlier the aspiration was to have a good mobile phone, but now, people aspire for better data speed. Times are changing and we have to accept that,” Modi added.
The PM said the Rs 100-lakh-crore roadmap for infrastructure development factors in big-ticket projects like Sagarmala and Bharatmala, which deal with coastal and highway connectivity, respectively.
“The government will build modern airports, hospitals, rail lines and bridges,” the PM added.
The infrastructure sector had also got a boost in the latest Union Budget, which was presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in June, with almost all sectors — including highways, railways and urban infrastructure — getting a healthy allocation.
In its election manifesto, the BJP had promised to build a network of modern infrastructure such as gas and water grids, airports and 60,000 km of national highways by 2024 to give a boost to the economy by creating jobs.
‘Era of policy paralysis over’
In his Independence Day speech Thursday, Modi said the era of “policy paralysis” — an accusation often lobbed at the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government — had ended, adding that the Centre was delivering “policy-based governance that has helped catapult the country from 142nd to 77th position among 190 nations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.
Modi said India’s target now was to break into the top 50.